Thursday, 11 April 2013

Jack takes on the Sahara to save wildlife


For immediate release
Jack takes on the Sahara to save wildlife
Jack Roper, 24, one of the RSPB South West’s newest staff members, is taking his job in Devon with the wildlife charity very seriously.   On 7th April, to raise money for the charity, he will start running over 150 miles across the Sahara desert, in the gruelling six-day adventure known as the Marathon des Sables.  

Fran Luke, Community Fundraiser for the charity, said “Jack is an absolute hero to be doing this for us. I’ve been told that this is ranked as ‘the toughest footrace on earth’!”

Jack said; “These events are great opportunities to raise money for charity and this year I am fundraising for the RSPB. I'm a massive believer in bringing people and nature closer together and, for me, the RSPB does this better than anyone. When it came to choosing a charity to run the Marathon des Sables for, it was an easy decision. We all have a responsibility to protect our green spaces, particularly with issues such as climate change, urbanisation and habitat loss becoming ever more significant.”

Jack, speaking about what he is really looking forward to about it, said; “It will be great getting to know the other runners, my tent mates and enjoying some good camaraderie. I think these aspects of the event will be a major player in getting me through the rough times out there on the sand. It's been three years in the making, getting to this point and there have been plenty of highs and lows. I have run across some stunning landscapes and had to combat several injuries but now, I’m just looking forward to getting out there.”

However, there are some things Jack is not looking forward to:  “The midday heat.  I have no problem roughing it in the desert, sleeping in the sand and eating freeze-dried food, but those moments you get as a runner, when you’re seeking inspiration to pull you through can be really tough and I expect to experience the worst of them out in the Sahara. I have a short-term memory when it comes to running though and I'm hoping I'll have forgotten how those pains feel by each new morning”.

When asked for his final thoughts on the challenge ahead, Jack thought of the birds and wildlife he’s hoping to help. “It would make me very happy if people would sponsor me on my relatively mini trans-Saharan migration by visiting my just giving page at:www.justgiving.com/JackRuns2013

You can also keep up to date with how Jack is doing by visiting his blog at:http://jackrunsmds.blogspot.co.uk


ENDS

For more details, images and to arrange interviews please contact:
Tony Whitehead, RSPB  South West Press Officer 01392 453754, 07872 414365

Notes:
1.       Photo: Jack Roper doing the ‘mobot’ before setting off.
2.       Marathon des Sables background: http://www.marathondessables.co.uk/site/

Known simply as the MdS, the race is a gruelling six-day adventure through a formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates - the Sahara desert. The rules require you to be self-sufficient, to carry with you on your back everything except water that you need to survive. You are given a place in a tent to sleep at night, but any other equipment and food must be carried.

Started in 1986 by Patrick Bauer, the race is now in its 28th consecutive year and continues to grow in popularity every edition. Places are much sought after, but those who do make it to the start line are richly rewarded. Under the scorching Moroccan sun, life-long friendships are fostered through a shared experience of unforgettable days spent running across saltpans, up desert-mountains, through ruined towns and through the occasional sand storm.

The Marathon des Sables is open to individuals and teams of individuals, amateur and elite runners. With around 1000 runners coming from all over the world, the MdS is a truly international event that has a positive impact on the local environment and in local communities. Through the MdS foundation Solidarite, runners have raised funds to help hundreds of families through education and improve their quality of life.
3.       MdS dates: 5th – 15th April 2013, including transfers, medical & technical formalities.  Actual race with food self sufficiency is from 7-12th April.
4.       About Jack: Jack began volunteering with the RSPB in 2011 not knowing a great deal about the organisation. He “immediately became inspired by the RSPB's work, people and ambitions. They offered me opportunity after opportunity to expand my experience and knowledge within the conservation and public engagement sector.”
5.       How to sponsor Jack. You can send cheques to Jack Roper, c/o RSPB SW Regional Office, Keble House, Southernhay Gardens, Exeter EX1 1NT or sponsor him online at: http://www.justgiving.com/JackRuns2013
6.       To follow Jack’s adventure, visit his blog: http://jackrunsmds.blogspot.co.uk
7.       More you can do to help the RSPB: Do your own sponsored event; organize a fundraising event, alone or with friends; join or create one of our fundraising groups. Contact Sue Pickin, 01392 453295 for more information. Visit https://www.facebook.com/RSPBfundraisingSW for information on local fundraising events and opportunities.

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