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4 May 2017

Alumnus completes toughest footrace on earth for charity
Former student, Lynton Dawson, faced the biggest physical challenge of his life when he competed in the Marathon des Sables (MdS) in April.
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Caption: Lynton at the finish line.


The MdS is a gruelling 156 mile, six-day adventure across the Sahara Desert in temperatures exceeding 50°C which takes places every year. The rules require athletes to be self-sufficient, carrying enough supplies, including food and emergency equipment, on their backs. Communal goat’s-hair Berber tents are pitched every night for the athletes to sleep in and water is provided, though rationed.
Lynton was put in touch with Alan Critchley, a member of the Facilities team at the University, who also took part in the MdS. The two athletes have raised money for two very important charities which are close to their hearts. Alan has raised over £2,000 for Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research), a charity which has continued to support his mother-in-law since she was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2012; while Lynton has so far raised just over £5,000 for Families for HoPE. This is a non-profit organisation that was formed to address the needs of families and children diagnosed with holoprosencephaly (HPE) - a relatively common birth defect of the brain which can often affect facial features - and related brain malformations.
Lynton, who graduated from the University in 2005, works as a tutor with Premier Training International. He has been taking part in triathlon and running events for the past seven years and has recently returned to taking part in events after a three year break due to injuries. He said: “I wanted to come back with a goal that would really make me push myself. I turned 40 in March and, have two beautiful children, I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion and inspire them in the future. I also saw it as a chance to raise some much needed awareness and money for a fantastic charity.”
He added: “One of the goals I set is to present my finisher’s medal to a young girl who I am in contact with who suffers with HPE. She will turn four this year and she continues to defy odds with her enthusiasm for life and courageous approach to living it to the fullest.”
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Caption: Lynton with his finisher's medal.


Lynton completed the marathon in just over 45 hours, finishing 580th out of 1200 original starters. He said: “The MdS was an awesome experience. It was by far the toughest physical, mental and emotional challenge I have ever undertaken, but in comparison to what the little girl who I ran for and her family have to go through on a daily basis, it was easy. I am hopefully going to fly out to Oregon to meet Hannah and her family, and present her my medal once my fundraising is complete.”
Alan and Lynton are appealing for final sponsorships to help them reach their fundraising targets before the end of May.
Alan’s Just Giving page can be found at:
Lynton’s Just Giving page can be found at:
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