Thursday 15 July 2010
Source: Grantham Today
RACING across one of the toughest terrains in the World is a not for the faint-hearted - which John Bennett is certainly not.
Grantham lad John, a leading weapons engineering artificer in the Royal Navy, loves nothing more than pushing himself through gruelling endurance trials.
In 2007, he took on the Jungle Marathon, a 200km footrace through the Amazon Rainforest. Finishing eighth overall, and with the title fastest Brit, he was spurred on to test his stamina again.
He signed up to the 250km footrace across the Australian outback. However, while en route to London’s Heathrow Airport, the Icelandic volcano put paid to his plans.
Eager not to waste the time and effort put into preparing for the challenge, he decided to embark on the 10-day Gobi March, which ended last Sunday.
John, 31, said: “This was a very tough race, however it wasn’t as tough as the Jungle Marathon. The jungle is so much more mentally exhausting.
“In the desert the most dangerous animal I saw was a scorpion, in the jungle it was a jaguar.”
For the first four days of the Gobi March, John ran almost a marathon a day, struggling through extreme temperatures from cold starts of about 8C to 53C early afternoon. By the time he crossed the finishing line to the beat of drums and the sound of cheers, his feet were ripped to shreds and his ankles sore.
John said: “I found the challenge amazing. The heat and the terrain were incredible.
“I’m also thankful to the race for getting me to China for all that I saw before, during and after the race, such as walking on the Great Wall, going to the forbidden city, seeing the Terracotta Army and holding a young panda.”
Out of 154 competitors, John finished at 39th place.
Through sponsorship, John has raised just over £660 towards an adaptable all-terrain wheelchair for use by pupils of Ambergate Sports College and Sandon School. The specially-designed piece of kit will allow disabled pupils to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards alongside their able-bodied friends.