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58 %
raised of £10,000 target
by 123 supporters
robert Duncombe avatar
robert Duncombe

Rob's Marathon Des Sables Fundraising Page

no idea......but it should be hot and sunny for The Christie because I work there

58 %
raised of £10,000 target
by 123 supporters
  • Event: Marathon des Sables, 05 Apr 2019 to 15 Apr 2019

The Christie

We fund life-changing and life-saving work to support cancer patients at The Christie

Charity Registration No. 1049751


Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

Just 4 weeks to go now...... everyone I have spoken to about the MDS says that post Christmas the days just fly by........and they have.

My preparations are almost complete, food choices made, decisions taken about what kit to wear, tent mates found, all that is left is just to wrap myself in cotton wool and stay injury free, while maintaining current levels of fitness.

I remain totally blown away by everyone's generosity and kindness. 

Do remember if you do sponsor me to add a song to my MdS playlist. 

By all means dedicate it to someone you know affected by cancer and I promise to dedicate a Km during the 80-90km long stage just to them. No matter what the song... I'll put it on the playlist. 

February 2019 update....I am constantly blown away by the generosity of others, and the amount of help and support that I am been given by those who have done the MdS before.

In particular I must thank Andy who has been mentoring me throughout the year..he has been a constant source of help and support.

I also have had the opportunity to film a short video with Sophie Raworth. Sophie was incredibly generous with her time, and again gave me loads of helpful tips. I hope you like it.

I also must thank Tom and Olivia from the Media department at The Christie for helping me make it.

And finally in February I've had support from both The Manchester Metropolitan university, and the Manchester Institute of Health Performance.

January 2019 Update... For those that have visited my page before you will notice I've now removed the caveat about sponsoring me too soon.  Having just returned from a brilliant training camp in Lanzarote I'm finally pretty confident that I can do this,  and I will do this. 

The camp in Lanzarote was just what I needed,  surrounded by a bunch of like-minded people and coached by a team of international ultra-runners who made all of us feel that we could achieve and surpass our aims and dreams. 

The coaches,  Ian Corless, Shane Benzie,  Sondra Amdahl,  Inge Nijkamp,  and the 2 times MdS champ Elisabet Barnes not only ran with us but shared with us their encyclopedic knowledge of how to run a multi-day ultra event. It was so nice training, just for one week,  like a proper athelete,  in the end I think I ran about 90 miles.....

For those thinking of doing an ultra registration for next years camp in Lanzarote is already open and I can't recommend it highly enough. 

A link to it can be found on Ian's website. (just google

My aim now is to train hard for the next 6 weeks,  and then taper off,  so that I reach the MdS start line raring to go,  and in the best physical and mental state I can be. 

December 2018 Update. Its been quite a good month wrt my training, although with this type of event one can never be too sure how well you really are doing. Last week was an amazing week, and I can't thank enough the people who are helping me along the way with my challenge. On Friday 14th Dec I lifted over 100Kg - prior to starting with my trainer, Tony, at Rx gym in Didsbury I'd never lifted any weights ever! On Saturday 15th Dec I ran my first ever sub 20min 5Km run, and then on Tuesday 18th Dec I had a complete physical assessment by the team at MMU (Sue Pinner and Steve Morton). I really cannot thank Sue and Steve enough for the time they spent with me measuring just about everything that could be measured - and then volunteering to do it all again when I get back from the training camp I'm attending in Lanzarote in a few weeks time.   

It is very hard to say why I'm running the MdS - it's actually far easier to say why I ran the London Marathon in 2016 (an iconic race which was always on my personal bucket list). The MdS is obviously far, far tougher, harder, and ultimately is definitely bad for your health! The only reason I can think of for running the MdS is a burning ambition to do at least one really, really crazy thing before I get too old to do crazy things, and also obviously to raise hopefully some serious money for The Christie.

I've been director of pharmacy at the Christie for 6 years now and I truly love this place and what it does for patients with cancer. Not just in Manchester but across the UK and the world. Over the years drugs developed and trialled at The Christie have impacted on the lives of patients across the globe - and that makes this a truly amazing place to work.

For those who are interested in such things my training has gone well so far. I've lost a fair amount of weight, signed up with a personal trainer (Tony at Rx gym in Didsbury), and feel fitter and healthier than I have ever been. Currently my training regimen consists of doing something every day with gym sessions twice a week and runs every day. On a weekly basis I'm running over 60Km - and am starting to include running with a weighted pack and lots and lots of hills.

Between now and April next year I will try and update this page frequently - so do keep checking to see how my training is progressing.

At some point I will be asking for sponsorship - and help in making Rob's MdS playlist. In the MdS there is a long stage (80-90Km) and people tell me that that is the time to get out the MP3 player and listen to some real "banging tunes". It would be great if every person who sponsors me could give me one song for my playlist - and ideally dedicate that song to someone close to them who may have had cancer. As I'm running through the desert I promise to play your song and dedicate a Km to someone special.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.