Challenge of the sands

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The Independent Online
SOLDIERS from the 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment yesterday

prepare to tackle a six-day, 143-mile run across the Sahara by training on the sandy terrain of Long Valley, Aldershot.

The team will undertake the `toughest foot-race on earth', the Marathon des Sables, in Morocco at the end of next month to raise money for Imperial Cancer Research and Airborne Forces Charities.

The team doctor, Captain Mike McErlain, is using the training to research stress fractures, a local weakening of the bone, which are common in athletes and during military training.

Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid