Blackwood man's Sahara charity run in memory of Nan
12:01pm Friday 27th September 2013 in News
A BLACKWOOD man spent six gruelling days running across the Sahara Desert in memory of his grandmother.
Nik Lusardi, 38, took part in the Marathon des Sables, labelled the toughest footrace in the world, and managed to raise more than £3,000 for Alzheimer’s Society earlier this year.
Tackling 50 degree temperatures, mountains and sandstorms, he ran a total of 156 miles, an average of 26 miles a day, the equivalent of running a full marathon every day for six days.
He also carried everything he needed to survive, except water, in his backpack.
The father-of-one, who now lives in Surrey with his wife Katy, was inspired to raise the money by his 90-year-old grandmother, Kathleen Stock, who had been living with Alzheimer’s disease for ten years. Soon after Mr Lusardi completed the feat, Mrs Stock died. Mr Lusardi said: “I signed up for the Marathon des Sables while my Nan was still with us. She had been living with Alzheimer’s disease for the last decade of her life which is why I wanted to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. Sadly Nan passed away earlier in September, only a few months after I returned from the Sahara. This makes my achievement even more poignant. I am proud that I completed the race whilst Nan was still with us.It seems fitting that the money I raised can be donated in her honour, and in her memory. During the tough times I thought about everyone who had sponsored me and it spurred me on. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their fantastic support.” Mr Lusardi trained for a year to compete in the Marathon des Sables, and during the last four months he was running a marathon every weekend and 60 miles a week.
In the Sahara race, he finished 248th out of 1,050 competitors from 50 different countries, and raised £3,245.50. Lesley Thomas, locality manager for Alzheimer’s Society in Gwent, said: “Nik completed an incredible challenge in support of Alzheimer’s Society, a challenge that many of us couldn’t even dream of completing. We are extremely grateful to him for his incredible fundraising efforts, raising such a substantial amount of money.”
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