A rider from Birmingham is taking part in the toughest footrace on earth to raise funds for SPANA.

Rebecca Drackley, 37, begins the ultra-marathon on Friday (8 April) and over six days will cover 156 miles of the Sahara desert in temperatures up to 48C.

The rules of the race means she has to be self-sufficient, carrying everything needed to survive in a backpack.

Ms Drackley, pictured, is taking with her the ashes of her family horse Dorzac to scatter in the Sahara desert.

“Training for the race has been really tough, mentally and physically,” she said.

“I’ll be relying on some heat training in saunas and trying to keep myself fit and healthy before I set off.”

The combat medic technician and student paramedic chose to raise funds for SPANA “as they provide emergency care as well as education to areas of the world that need it most.”

“I have a very soft spot for horses and that extends to all working animals, they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and care,” she said.

The charity’s chief executive Jeremy Hulme said: “We’re completely in awe of Rebecca for taking on this gruelling challenge to raise funds for SPANA.”

The money raised will enable the charity help more working animals in some of the world’s poorest countries.

“These animals – which do the job of trucks, tractors and taxis – are relied upon completely by the owners for their livelihoods, but without SPANA they would have no access to much-needed veterinary treatment,” said Mr Hulme.

Ms Drackley also ran the Brighton Marathon in 2014 in aid of the charity.


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SPANA was set up in 1923 to provide free veterinary care to working animals in need.

There are estimated 200m working animals worldwide working to support impoverished communities in developing countries.