AN EX-MARINE who raced across the Martian landscape of Chile’s Atacama Desert is completing a double marathon closer to home.

Brian Adcock wants to raise £50,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support by running 50 miles across Sussex and Kent.

The 50-year-old will set off from Eastbourne next Saturday, and hopes to complete the distance in a single day.

He is unfazed by the prospect after almost a decade serving in the Royal Marines, one of the UK’s most elite fighting forces, and a lifetime spent competing in extreme sporting events.

In 2013 Brian completed the 217-mile Atacama Crossing, running across terrain so arid and inhospitable that it has been used to simulate conditions on Mars.

He said: “I have a history of doing stupid long-distance events which started back in university, when a friend and I cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in five days. It was a brilliant life-affirming experience and we raised a load of money for charity along the way.

“I’ve always had a thirst for adventure, but it was my time in the Marines that gave me the discipline and focus I needed to get through some of the most physically challenging races on the planet. Your feet are covered in blisters, your body is aching and you’ve barely slept, so you have to rely on willpower to keep going.

“My tamer 50-mile route is inspired by the training I have done on the South Downs and the Ashdown Forest in preparation for the various endurance challenges I have attempted over the years.”

A jog around the park has never been enough for Brian, who was busy scaling the 13,000 ft Eiger mountain in Switzerland at the tender age of 15, and spent four months cycling from Nairobi to Cape Town while on leave from the Marines.

His latest challenge has been driven by a desire to help recoup some of the income lost by Macmillan amid the coronavirus crisis, when people with cancer need the charity’s specialist support services more than ever.

Brian’s route will take him along The Seven Sisters, over the South Downs Way, through the Sussex Ouse Valley and into Ashdown Forest.

Some all-important pub stops have been scheduled to keep his spirits and energy levels up along the way. Brian said: “I’m feeling good about the run. The first section running over Seven Sisters will probably be the most challenging – it will sap a fair bit of energy quite early on, so I need to make sure I pull back on the throttle there or I’ll pay for it at the end.

“I wanted it to be achievable and I know that if I were to blast hundreds of miles aged 50, my body might fall apart a bit. I’m a little creakier than I used to be.

“It’s been important to get in the right balance of training, so I’ve been alternating between longer and shorter runs, higher and lower intensity workouts and between running and cycling.”

Though Brian is behind the mammoth fundraising drive, he won’t be hitting the road alone – his son Arthur, 17, and a couple of serving Marines will be bringing up the rear.

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