Third and final leg of Tri Albion Challenge
TODAY sees Dave Heeley begin his quest to become the first blind man to complete the gruelling Marathon des Sables - and wrap up the third and final leg of the Tri Albion Challenge in the process.
A gruelling total of 156 miles over six days lie ahead of him and his two guides, Rosemary Rhodes and Tony Ellis, as they battle across sand dunes, dried river beds, rocks and sand to complete what is commonly described as the “toughest foot race on Earth”.
The group will be carrying all provisions on their back as they try to combat the elements.
Now in its 28th year, the race continues to grow in popularity. Temperatures in the desert at this time of year have been known to reach 50 degrees during the day and over 40% humidity while dropping to below freezing at night time.
The group are completing the challenge to raise funds for The Albion Foundation (charity number 1081948) to help continue their work in the community throughout Sandwell, Dudley and Worcestershire.
The first leg of the Tri Albion Challenge was completed by a group of 17 cyclists, including club legend Brendon Batson OBE and 'Blind Dave' himself, who successfully cycled 156 miles from St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, to The Hawthorns over three days in late February.
Mid-March's second leg saw The Albion Foundation’s blind football team successfully walk to all 119 primary schools in Sandwell guided by their disability coaches.
And now the Baggies Baton has been passed on to 'Blind Dave'.
He said: “I’m just a blind old codger from West Bromwich, but I would like to put a message across to all of the disabled kids in the area, anything is possible!"
Dave is hoping to raise £30,000 for the charity and is appealing for fans to help him reach his target.
Albion head coach Tony Pulis said: “Listening to what Dave is doing, it’s amazing really. The temperatures and conditions he will put up with, it's beyond belief. It’s inspirational really, there is a load of people out there today who moan and groan about things, and then you see someone like that and it washes everything away."
You can follow Dave’s journey on The Albion Foundation’s social media channels (Facebook: The Albion Foundation and Twitter: @WBAFoundation).
You can sponsor 'Blind Dave' as he runs across the Sahara by clicking here