Desert marathon is next in year of challenges

04 April 2019: The most extreme in a year of challenges taken on by Inmarsat colleagues to raise funds for disaster relief charity Team Rubicon is about to get under way.

Damian Lewis

Inmarsat Global Government Account Manager Damian Lewis is running the Marathon Des Sables (MDS), known as the toughest foot race on Earth. Starting on 7 April, he will cover over 250km (154 miles) of the Sahara Desert in seven days, in temperatures reaching 50°C.

The #RunningforRubicon series of events has already seen Inmarsat global teams complete a number of varied challenges including a 24 hour round the world relay, a 165km Santa Run from Inmarsat’s London headquarters to Team Rubicon HQ, and the Three Peaks Challenge.

Personal campaign

Damian set himself a personal endurance campaign of a marathon in the Sierra Nevada at the height of summer, a 165km ultra marathon in the Oman Desert and finally MDS.

He was inspired to fundraise after signing up with Team Rubicon under Inmarsat’s volunteering scheme, and joining a team deployed to the British Virgin Islands in October 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Inmarsat supports the organisation, which unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams in the UK and around the world, by providing emergency satellite communications equipment and connectivity for longer-term reconstruction projects.

Devastating floods

Team Rubicon is currently active in Mozambique following Typhoon Idai, delivering clean water, food and shelter to remote communities still largely cut off following the devastating floods.

The volunteers are busy locating survivors, assessing needs, and travelling by foot, boat, vehicle or helicopter to reach them with the desperately needed supplies.

Damian said: “Marathon Des Sables is daunting – I don’t fully know what to expect. I know it’s going to hurt but the struggle should be worth it.

Follow progress

“Mozambique holds personal meaning for me so it’s really hard to see the devastation there – if I wasn’t already committed to run MDS next week, I’d definitely be deployed with Team Rubicon right now. That makes the fundraising success of this event incredibly important.”

MDS runners have to be self-sufficient, carrying all their supplies and equipment, other than water and tents. Damian is making room for a compact, lightweight iSavi terminal to access Inmarsat’s IsatHub smart device connectivity service so he can keep followers updated even from the middle of the desert.

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