I’ll try and keep this short so as not to bore you, but long enough to get across all the info I need.

First up, who am I and what am I doing?


My name is Charlie, I’m 42 years old and an ultra-runner in the free time I have outside of running my own private healthcare business. Life is great – I live with my two dogs at home in the heart of Worcestershire, surrounded by family and friends.

I am big into health optimisation both because of my work and because of my personal goals/health.

Charlotte Hurst and her dogs

Credit: Balance Magazine

I live with type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid issues and coeliac disease.  Some people know me as the autoimmune queen! But this isn’t going to stop me from achieving my dreams and I want to prove to anyone who lives with a chronic disorder or illness that it doesn’t need to stop you from doing anything.

An advocate for being the best versions of ourselves, I am always striving to be better and try to lead by example both professionally and personally.

So, on to my challenge.  I am running in the Marathon des Sables in April 2023.

What is the Marathon des Sables (MdS)?


In a nutshell, this is what the MDS is all about:

  • 250km self-supported race across the Sahara Desert over 7 days.
  • Temperatures could reach the mid-40s
  • Sand will wreak havoc with feet and running
  • Personal hygiene is at an absolute minimum

Everything I need for the week (except a large tent for 8 people that is put up and taken down for us and water which is given out every 10km) is carried on my back in a backpack with a need to keep the backpack as light as possible

The route differs slightly each year but typically distances are as follows:

Day 1 30.3km

Day 2 39km

Day 3 31.6km

Day 4-5 86.2km

Day 6 42.2km

Day 7 7.7km 

Marathon Des Sables - image of runners on sand dune

Photo of MDS from website

Taken from the MdS website:

“Challenge. Discovery. Achievement. Pain. The MdS is for the adventurers out there. The ones with the courage to stretch their boundaries in the harshest conditions – the seekers, the free spirits, of this world.” 

we are committed to eradicating type 1 diabetesWhy am I doing it?


There are a number of caveats in response to this question.

  • I want to bring more awareness to living with type 1 diabetes and prove that we can still achieve our dreams
  • I want to raise money for JDRF, a fabulous charity who are committed to eradicating type 1 diabetes
  • I love a challenge, and this is the perfect adventure for me
  • Ticking something off my bucket list

I love learning about myself and pushing my body to new limits and places that it’s not been before. Having completed and won a couple of ultras in 2022 I have realised that my happy place is when the body is tired, but the brain kicks in and says, “no I’m not listening, we can do this.”  The sense of achievement when this happens far outweighs any tired legs.

The journey that I have been on so far in training for this challenge has been incredible.  The people and the communities that I have met, the lessons I have learnt and those times when the body really does push back, and you have to listen – I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Charlotte Hurst running across fields with hills behind her

Credit: Tom Bailey Photography

Why do I need your help?


The race is hellishly expensive and it’s not just the entry fee.  It’s the equipment, trialling bits and bobs that I may or may not use for the actual event, the food testing, and the management of the diabetes – with the mounting costs, all in all, the bill comes to approximately £15,000. A vast amount when also trying to raise money for a deserving charity.

What can I do for you?


I have put together a few different tiers of sponsorship which you can see below.  This is a very loose guideline and I’m more than happy to discuss should you wish to express an interest. I would love to shout about your company in the lead-up and out in the Sahara Desert.

There will be lots of photo opportunities, and lots of social media posts (please see my social handles below) and if you wish to go for a higher level of support then building a formal relationship where I can be present at networking events, or offer a display/talk to an audience that may like to hear both what the challenge entails, and what it’s like living with a chronic disease and doing it.

Sponsporship Opportunies for Businesses to sponsor Charlie for her Marathon Des Sables event

Photo – Sponsorship Opportunity Tiers

Perhaps you may not be able to help me but know someone or a business that could? I would be so grateful for any shares and for passing on this blog to prospective interests.  It’s all about building awareness and getting my story heard by as many people as possible.

I hope this short blog answers any questions you may have but if you would like any more details then please contact me via the channels below.  I would love to hear from you.

Huge thank you for your support.


Charlie wearing Marathon Des Sables Vest standing in stable door