PICTURES: Brave Duncan Slater puts history on hold - for the time being
Scole’s Duncan Slater is putting his latest bit of history making on hold after a brave and determined effort taking on the ‘toughest footrace on earth’.
Sgt Slater, who served in the RAF for more than a decade, was blown up in Afghanistan in July 2009, and had both of his legs amputated 12 months later as a result of the injuries.
He made history in 2013, becoming the first double leg amputee to ski to the South Pole, and was hoping to become the first to complete the gruelling Marathon des Sables — a six-day ultramarathon across the Sahara Desert covering more than 150 miles, with temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius. Mr Slater, who compared the waves of soaring heat to opening an oven door, was making good progress on specially designed prosthetics, completing two marathons in one day.
However, damage to his stumps could not be patched up, risking potential infection. Following medical advice, Mr Slater had to pull out of the challenge with just one marathon of the six remaining.
“I’m going back next year to go and finish it,” he told the Diss Express
“I was chuffed to bits because they reckon the double-header is the hardest one. A lot of people thought it was the longest and hardest course in 13 years.
It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make
“It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make.”
Mr Slater was taking part in the challenge for Walking With the Wounded for their Head Start programme, providing support to ex-service men and women who experience mental health difficulties.
“It was so hot, and we had sandstorms, which were pretty miserable. A lot of people got lost in the sandstorms and had to be pulled off the race, and dehydration was a constant factor. It does live up to its name as the toughest footrace on earth. It was so hard, but I loved it and really enjoyed it.
“We will delay it for a year, and I will come back and nail it.”
The father-of-one also praised the support he received from the community.
“I would just like to say thanks,” he added.
“Once again, the support you get locally is huge. I have had so many people wishing me well locally, it was fantastic.”
Wife Kim said:“It is really hard to put into words how proud we are.
“He got so far, I just think by wanting to do it again next year it just shows how determined he is. I don’t think proud can come close to how we feel. We are glad he is home safe and sound.”