Welcome to Charlie’s Challenges

Follow me as I train for the Marathon Des Sables

Track and Contact Me During My Race

My Race Number: 1104
My Tent Number: 99

Click on the button below – this will open the Marathon Des Sables website
Hit the GB flag at the top of the page
Hit the live button at the top of the page

From there you can track me by inputting my number
and/or write to a runner using my bib number and tent number.

Hello and welcome to Charlie’s Challenges!

My name is Charlotte Hurst, I’m a type 1 diabetic, a private health care specialist at Hurst Health, a Mum to 2 doggies and I have decided to enter the Marathon Des Sables 2023!

Follow the highs and lows of my journey as I train to complete this event

What is the Marathon Des Sables?

The Marathon des Sables is the stuff of legends – a truly gruelling multi-stage adventure in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments, the Sahara Desert. It is indisputably the Toughest Footrace on Earth.

Physically, it is six days running over 250 kms (156 miles) across endless sand dunes, rocky jebels and white-hot salt plains, carrying what you need to survive on your back.

Mentally, it is the ultimate challenge – an experience like no other in the world.


Marathon des Sables logo

What will I face in the Marathon des Sables?

The glaring sun.  The heat (up to 50 degrees Celsius). The sand – lots of it.  These will be my constant companions, alongside 999 other runners from across the globe, spanning cultures and physical abilities – but united by the quest for adventure and to achieve something different from the crowd.

It will be hard.  My feet will swell.  They will crack.  They will bleed, as I cross the world’s largest hot desert. The fourth day will take me out of the Saharan morning into dark, dark and beyond as I cover more than 80kms (52 miles) in one relentless stage of running. But I will find the strength to power onwards like those who have run before me, to the exhilaration and joy of the finish line.

At a Glance

  • 250+kms (156 miles)
  • Six stages over seven days
  • A long stage of 80+kms (52+ miles)
  • Self-sufficient, but with water rations and communal goats’ hair Berber tents supplies and pitched each night.
  • Temperatures of more than 50 degrees Celsius
The Marathan Des Sables is run across the Sahara Desert - image of dozens of runners making their way across the Sahara
Image of 2 runners running down sand bank in the Sahara Desert

Why am I doing the Marathon Des Sables?

Unsurprisingly, I get asked this a lot.  There are a few reasons for this.

I have been obsessed with the Marathon des Sables for the last 15 years and have simply been in awe of the athletes that complete it. I still can’t quite believe that I am entered in the next edition.

I have a strong message that I want people to know about….

Type 1 diabetes doesn’t need to stop you from doing anything.  If you live with this lifelong condition or if you know someone who does, then you need to hear this.

We are so lucky to be alive in an era where technological advancements are making it easier and easier to live a normal life whilst managing diabetes. Just in the last few years, finger pricking blood glucose monitoring has taken a back seat and scanning a patch on my arm with an app on my phone is normal.  How amazing is this?

I manage insulin levels using an Omnipod dash system which is stuck on me permanently and I move every 3 days.  The recent advancements are now trialling a closed loop system where continual glucose monitors (CGM) and insulin pumps and now a closed loop where they ‘talk’ to each other.

How incredible is that? It’s like an external pancreas!

So, with all these technologies diabetes can easily be managed. Of course, there are days when it is a challenge, or when things don’t quite work out, but thankfully those days get less and less with the support that is out there.

All it takes is a bit of organisation, having a handle on the knowledge that is needed to cope and manage and constantly striving to get it right with an open mind to learn from mistakes.  Isn’t that something that every person needs no matter what they are living with?

Also, I am an ordinary person.  I am classed as an athlete because of the training I do, but I work full time, I’m not currently sponsored, and I have access to only what the general public has access to.  I just utilise it as much as possible and to my advantage.

Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. I want to prove this. I want to challenge myself, both physically and mentally, and in the process learn so much more about myself. Most of all I am and will enjoy the journey….who knows where it will take me.

Through this journey, I want to raise valuable funds for JDRF as well as cover some of the equipment and medical costs that I will need in order to survive.

The cost of the entry alone is over £4500, which I will self-fund, but will need a little help with some of the technical equipment.

Please please find it in your hearts to donate to my cause. Each and every donation received will be so gratefully received, no matter how large or small. Follow me on social media to see my journey and watch as I prepare and make it to the start line of the Marathon des Sables, on the 21st of April 2023.

My Sponsors

Willy’s ACV is my Title Sponsor and has written a lovely blog to introduce me called Diabetes Awareness Month.  Click the button below to read it.