Please Help Us !
Marathon des Sables

To donate for Facing Africa - use this button - read about their work HERE
To donate to the Vegan Society use this button - go to their site HERE
To donate for Fiona's rescued animals - use this button  - see more HERE
Alternatively if you prefer to send a cheque to the Sanctuary & mark it for one of the other 2 Charities, we will collate the funds on their behalf & remit the totals to them in due course.

All cheques payable to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary and to be sent to:

Fiona Oakes - Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, Asheldham, Essex, CM0 7DZ

Thank you
Please Help Us !
UPDATE - 10th April - 2nd update HERE - 3rd HERE
Managed to speak to Fiona this morning briefly & she has sent a short e mail through via the MDS organisers, as for some reason her phone is not "doing" e mails

We have been very concerned about her as she was a very long time completing stage 1 & finished right at the back of the field. Yesterday she appeared to have a better day and improved her position by about 150 people

Having seen her mail & spoken to her we now know what happened.

Given her fractured toes & the fact that the terrain on day one was the opposite of a smooth road, Fiona decided to walk the first stage - as many competitors do walk the whole thing - clearly even walking that far in that heat with a heavy ruck sack is beyond 99.999% of people ! & with fractured toes... well I just don't know - Anyway, she was walking with a lady who gradually got slower & slower & they found themselves at one point walking with the Camel at the back of the field. At first I thought this might be a cunning plot to enlist the Camel at Tower Hill Stables !

Then, alone again with the lady, Fiona finished an ascent, looked back to see that her colleague had collaped at the foot of the hill. So she had to go back for her (T E Lawrence style) and she literally dragged the lady up the hill with her poles. It was a big effort & felt Fiona very tired. Then Fiona had to leave the lady & run to the finish to raise the alarm and get the Medics.

The lady was helped to the finish, but this meant that Fiona had been out in the heat for much longer than planned.

Additionally she has had an allergic reaction to her socks. We had bought some X Bionic ones, special heat reflective ones, but it appears that something in them has reacted badly with her & her legs & feet have gone red & are swollen. She has been lent another pair by one of the race leaders and the organisers have been good to her because of her actions towards her fellow competitor.

The attention she got, caused Little Percy to become a Celebrity & Eurosport have said they will interview him if he makes it to the end ! - This afterall is what Fiona is there for - to get publicity.

On stage 2, she made better headway & quite a lot of people were suprised to see her go by with a snowmans head sticking out of her ruck sack ! - She said she could hear people saying, OMG I've been overtaken by a girl with a snowman !

Here is Fiona's e mail:

Yesterday bad. hurt knee. girl i was had to be attended to by dr and i waited with her. not bd though as it got me publicityin the race. organiser has promised that if i finish percy will be interviewed on eurosport.  he i already making a name for himself.  i did do one interview already.  second hotest day ever on race today 51 degrees.  it is a killer. more tough  than i could ever explain.  i have had an allergic reaction to my legs are so bad i cannot explain.  massive and red and so sore.  same as my feet.  it has given me really bad blisterrs.  i have hd injections but they have been ok with me because of what i did yesterday for my fellow competitor.  not bothered as it got me publicity and that is all i am here for.  please thank everyone for emails it really does mean a lot.  i am doing my best but with my foot, knee, toes and the conditions it is bad.  i hope you are all ok and i am thinking of you.  this really is hell on earth. all you do is run,rest and see medics  x

So thank you to all who have send messages of support via the MdS website.

To send a message go to this link HERE & then hit the British flag at the top of the screen & then select the "write to a competitor box" on the left hand side under the main picture

Select 611 from the list, thats Fiona's race number.

There is also a live webcam on this site - see the link on the right of the page when you get there.

Thank you to all who have sponsored Fiona for this Epic Marathon to help the causes below & animals everywhere
Percy at the start
Percy, Fiona & Omar Sharif
2nd e mail update from Fiona

Today was a bit better as the swelling on my legs is subsiding but my feet are cut to ribbons because the socks affected them so badly. Even my leggins don\'t fit as my lower legs are so big.  today i just went out steady and finished strong with plenty to spare.  it is so hard as my pack is so heavy i cannot use any conventional long distance foods.  the sleeping bag too is a lot heavier which is making it hard.  the terrain was mountainous today, the weather is hot and windy.  where we are camped is like the surface of another planet.  so desolate and the sand storms are so bad i cannot even see the lep tents from this one. it is like hell on earth.  the emails mean so much. i will do my best but tomorrow but it isthe 50 mile leg and in this heat - 40 degrees - and then the night it is going to be so hard. please think of me.  my feet are sobadi don't know how i am going to do it.  i will not be fast as i am going in a group as you could get lost.  Percy is on the web cam love x

3rd Update from Fiona (after the 80km stage)

The last 36 hours have quite possibly been the very worst of my life.  They call this the toughest foot race in the world and that it will take you to very dark places.  They are not wrong.Percy and I have been to hell and we are not back yet!  We set off running with our poorly legs, blisters, broken toes at 9 yesterday and finished at 10 today.  One of the  guys we were with fell ill and we had to stop for a few hours at a checkpoint.  It was like a war zone, pitch  black, sand blowing in the tent from every side, broken and bleading bodies everywhere.  It was 10 pm and we had just battled 36 miles over the most ferocious terrain the desert has to offer in some of the hottest conditions. We set off again at 2.30 am over dunes so big you couldn't see your way, even without the sandstorms.  Then running on stones through dried up river beds. Percy and i battled on for the animals and he is on the webcam to prove it.  Tomorrow is a full Marathon and we both want to cry.  Thank for support!

Percy receives his Medal for completing the Race !