Scotland to the Sahara: Jelly legs and jelly babies

Aberdeen GP Dr Andrew Murray is running 2,850 miles from John O'Groats to the Sahara Desert. Dr Murray hopes to cover 28 miles a day for 85 consecutive days to raise £100,000 for the Yamaa Trust, a charity that tackles poverty in Mongolia, and for which he volunteers as medical director. See his latest update below.

Keep on running...
I’m 12 days in, and there have been some incredible highs and lows (and that’s only the terrain). I’ve run 371 miles in 12 days, eating 81,600 calories which include 50 Weetabix, 34 bananas, 16 bacon rolls, and 1.4 kg of jelly babies.

I've run down from John O'Groats, all the way down the cursed A9, through Dingwall and a meeting with the mighty Ross County, the Great Glen and Loch Ness (with a sure spot of the monster), past Ben Nevis, the West Highland Way, Stirling, Edinburgh, and the Scottish Borders. I'll cross into England tomorrow.

Since the first day, and its severe weather warnings, gale force headwinds and dodgy bowels things have been a bit better. Running the A9 north of Inverness was no fun at all, but great to see Loch Ness, the great Glen, and run past Ben Nevis in a snowstorm. Coming over the awesome West Highland Way, and then being joined by 160 others running a section through surely some of the most beautiful terrain was absolutely amazing. I also raised £5000 for the Yamaa Trust. I doubt that section will again see 50 kilted commandos, the A team and a piping Batman storming down it.

The following day hitting the hills down towards Crianlarich in the frost was immense. Several of the following days were misty, cutting through back roads, and having some top support from characters. Including a council truck driver in Aberfoyle, who said ‘ram running to morocco, but I'll do a hunner yards and there's a tenner for those Mongolian lads.’


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Certainly the least enjoyable part of the trip has been having to sit exams in Edinburgh, although this was of course directly followed by a relaxing 30 miler down to Gala. Today and yesterday was spent in the Scottish Borders. Superb catching up with so many friends, chatting to Craig Chalmers and the Melrose lads. I also popped into the Borders General Hospital and the Teviot in Hawick and got a massive send off from both.

Great to have so many staff putting in some hard miles also, and there was no shortage of presents and enthusiasm when I went visiting Melrose Primary, Lilliesleaf Primary, and Hawick High.

Those miles haven't been at all easy. I never expected that mileage to be a doddle, but I’ve done an almost identical amount before without injury. At present I've got massively swollen and very sore Achilles tendons, and am in a fair bit of discomfort by the end of the day.

That said, it’s absolutely worth it, seeing the fundraising total rocket up, and it's inspiring hearing all the plans people have to raise money for the Yamaa trust. I've had the BBC guys with me loads. There will be some great footage I’m sure, which I think will show how difficult running from John O'Groats to Morocco in winter is.

Huge thanks to lots of people for their help, including Jennie, Mum and Dad, Dave, Ian R, Elise, Phil, Susie, Fiona, Mike and Julie, Sarah and Peter, Rab, Mike and Donnie. Thanks loads also to all sponsors for first rate kit, and their backing.

The messages that pile in from Facebook and Twitter are a brilliant pickup at the end of a day, thanks loads and keep them coming.

To donate via text, text S2S to 70700. This will donate £5 to the Yamaa Trust. Text costs £5 plus network charge. Yamaa Trust receives at least £4.45.

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