Three Men, One Desert, One Life Changing Challenge

24 March 2014

Former Bath Rugby player David Barnes, Bath Rugby Foundation Trustee Stuart Doughty and Help for Heroes’ Band of Brothers Martin Hewitt are setting off in April to take on the toughest footrace on Earth*, The Marathon Des Sables, with the hope of raising over £100,000 for their chosen charities – Help for Heroes, Bath Rugby Foundation and Restart.

Known simply as the MdS, the race is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates - the Sahara desert.

The three man team, called ‘The Real MdS’, will join over 1,000 men and women as they take on the challenge of crossing 150 miles in six days, while fighting intense temperatures of around 45°C.  They will be required to be self-sufficient, carrying everything they need to survive on their back, except water and a tent to sleep in at night.

While the Marathon Des Sables is a punishing and back-breaking race for even the fittest of competitors, for Martin it’s an even bigger challenge due to injuries he sustained fighting on the front-line in Afghanistan. He says: I'm looking forward to starting this challenge with Stu and David, the training has been going well. Having spent the past five years ski racing and on expeditions in the extreme cold, this will be a real test for me and for our team

David Barnes, Ex England Saxons and Bath Rugby player, and now Rugby Director of the Professional Rugby Players Association, said: “The Marathon des Sables presents a formidable challenge to us all, however by working together as a team, we hope to be able to cross the finish line together. We have spent the best part of two years preparing for this race and thanks to the fantastic support of Skins and GSK we hope to not only complete the "toughest race on earth" but raise valuable funds for three very deserving charities in the process; Help for Heroes, Restart and Bath Rugby Foundation

Stuart Doughty, Director, Centurion Wealth Management Ltd and a Trustee of Bath Rugby Foundation said: “I’m just keen to get cracking.  It has been two years since gaining entry to the race and 15 months training and now two weeks until we depart. We have trained hard, worked well together and taken advice from previous competitors. Challenges for me are two fold, firstly the event itself and secondly keeping Martin and Barnsey from racing each other! We are grateful to the support from SKINS and GSK Human Performance Lab for their continued support.

SKINS’ have supplied the team with the new SKINS garment, Coldblack®, which combines the most advanced compression properties on the market with a technology that offers double sun protection to stay up to 5°C cooler.  The GSK Human Performance Lab¹ are providing a range of ongoing performance support services and individual nutrition advice, leveraging the scientific expertise at the facility to deepen our understanding of human performance in extreme condition. The culmination of the work will be a series of live case studies with the collection and collation of data during the race.

Donations can be made via the Team's website at

The Marathon Des Sables runs from 4th – 14th April 2014 and further information about the race can be found at

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