The fact it was a drunken bet that forced him into it makes Rob Styles' success in the Gobi March challenge all the more impressive.

The amateur runner conquered 150 miles of bleak Chinese desert at altitudes of up to 9,000 feet in wide-ranging temperatures - in less than a week.

Rob, from Eastbourne, took part in the race following a drunken dare at a dinner party.

He said: "It was one of those dinner parties where somebody made a bit of a challenge and, having had a few drinks, I accepted it.

"The problem was they remembered it the next morning."

The 32-year-old had to push himself to his physical limits to complete the gruelling challenge, but succeeded in running a marathon a day for six days and raised more than £7,000 for the Huntingdon's Disease Association in the process.

Rob said: "It was unbelievably tough. I hadn't really appreciated before I went just how hard it would be. Most of the course was high up, between 1,800 and 3,000 metres and the temperature was often in the high 30s.

"Although the terrain was very hard to run on, the scenery was amazing very high mountains, lots of amazing rock features and mile after mile of stony desert.

"The other thing that made it hard was having to carry a week's worth of kit with us - I ended up ditching a lot of my food early on in the race just to reduce the weight and I ended up losing about four or five kilograms."

The run, located around Kashgar in China, was the fourth event along the ancient Silk Road.

Participants were particularly privileged to have access to an area few westerners could visit.

Banker Rob added: "Given the recent earthquake and the forthcoming Olympics, obtaining a visa wasn't very easy and we had a small army unit and local police who kept an eye on us as we went.

"Most of the time we wouldn't see any local people, but we did get to run through some villages. The people live very much a subsistence life style, living off the land and in homemade brick houses, much the same way as they would have been for centuries.

"They were extremely friendly, although they seemed slightly bemused as to why we would want to travel all the way round the world to run up their mountains!"

Rob finished 75th of 173 entrants and enjoyed a well-deserved beer on the finish line.

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