It was a moment which wouldn’t have looked out of place on a prank television show — but Scole’s Duncan Slater says a surprise visit from Prince Harry has given him a big boost ahead of his charity challenge.
Mr Slater begins the toughest footrace on earth, the six day ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert called the Marathon Des Sables (MDS), on Friday for a second time. And while preparing in Gosport, near Portsmouth earlier this month, he was visited by one of the men he trekked to the South Pole with back in 2013 — Prince Harry.
Mr Slater was being put through his paces with increased heat and humidity on a treadmill, to help his body adapt before starting the ultramarathon in Morocco.
The meeting was captured by ITV News, who are chronicling his journey.
Cue surprise and swearing from Mr Slater.
Prince Harry’s words to the Scole resident? “Don’t fall and don’t swear”
“I was not expecting it to say the least,” said Mr Slater. “It was really good to think he is taking a bit of time out and showing a bit of interest.
“He is one of the few people who is exactly as he come across. There is no persona or acting up to the cameras.
“He is a genuinely down to earth guy and I think he is a great advert for the Royal Family.
“When you are training for these things you are doing it on your own and I wouldn’t say it is lonely, but you are on your own, so when people take an interest it is really nice.”
He is one of the few people who is exactly as he come across. There is no persona or acting up to the camerasDuncan Slater
“He goes out of his way to do all sorts of things. He is an absolute legend.”
Mr Slater said Prince Harry’s visit came on the first of three trips down to the south coast earlier this month, in extra preparation for the MDS.
“It doesn’t mean I won’t find it hard but it means I will be a bit more prepared.”
Mr Slater will be using his new legs, made in Italy, which he believes will make the difference in this year’s event. He will become the first double-amputee to complete the MDS should he finish.
But Mr Slater said it wasn’t only royalty who was taking an interest in his MDS effort.
“The amount of people that have taken an interest in what I am doing and wishing me luck, it makes a huge difference,” he said.
Mr Slater will start the MDS on April 7 and will be running for Walking with the Wounded. To sponsor him, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Duncan.Slater