Scole’s history maker wants more amputees to tackle toughest footrace on earth
Scole’s history-making Duncan Slater admits it is a “dream come true” to complete the Marathon des Sables (MDS) — dubbed the ‘toughest footrace on earth’.
Mr Slater became the first double-leg amputee to complete the 156-mile, six stage ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert last week.
It was the second time he was attempting to complete the challenge, after injury forced him out of last year’s event.
“It was an amazing experience and I loved it,” he told the Diss Express.
“Physically, I feel ok, and I don’t have any injuries. The legs were perfect.
“On day two, I noticed on my left leg that one of the tendons was really starting to hurt. That was a day with a lot of sand and a lot of big sand dunes, and probably down to the way I walk.”
I’ve said all along that if next year there is 10 double amputees turn up to do it, that would be the best thing, that would be amazing because you think ‘I’ve had a little hand in that’
Mr Slater said it reached 54°C in the desert, and admitted he had a psychological boost when he passed the point where he was forced to pull out of last time around.
He said the ground was so hot that it was comparable to opening an oven door.
“I was nervous,” he said. “The way I was looking at it was that my MDS starts when I finish that double marathon day.
“Once I had finished that double day, I thought nothing is stopping me now.
“I felt a massive weight of relief just disappear. It was an amazing feeling.”
It was the aftermath of the double day where Mr Slater faced his hardest challenge in dealing with the heat.
“We finished the day with the double marathon and, for me, that was where I stopped last time, so that was quite something to do, to get over the line with that,” he explained.
“I woke up in the night and had a horrendous banging head, and I felt really sick. I thought it was a bit of dehydration, so I sat and drank a lot of water and started being really ill.
“I went to see the medics and I said I wasn’t great – and they told me I was dehydrated, had sun stroke and heat stroke.
“I thought ‘this is great on the last day’.”
He crossed the finish line with close friend and former colleague Chris Moore, a sergeant based at RAF Honington.
Mr Moore was with Mr Slater when he was injured in Afghanistan – he helped load him into the helicopter after the attack in 2009.
“If it wasn’t for him, I would have been in big trouble (on the last day),” he said. “He was literally feeding me bits and bobs along the way to keep me going.
“We’re best mates, so that’s why we thought we would do it together. A little boys adventure.”
And how does he feel about making more history?
“I’ve said all along that if next year there is 10 double amputees turn up to do it, that would be the best thing, that would be amazing because you think ‘I’ve had a little hand in that’.
“Maybe it’s that kind of thing that, because I’ve done it, other people will want to do it and that would be brilliant.
“It’s hard, you have got to work for it, but it’s so positive, too. It would change the lives of the people who do it.”
Mr Slater also thanked the local community for their support.
“I also just want to say a massive thanks for all of the local support,” he said. “People have been so amazing.
“People come up to me in the street and give me £5 for the charity and stuff – the local support has always been amazing.
“When you’re out there, it really spurs you on.”