Castle Acre brothers complete the toughest race on earth

James Stafford Allen, left, and Sam Stafford Allen, right. Photo: SUBMITTED.
James Stafford Allen, left, and Sam Stafford Allen, right. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Brothers who were inspired by their sister who is blind and has complex needs have battled through the desert to complete the toughest footrace on earth.

James and Sam Stafford Allen, from Castle Acre, raised more than £10,000, completing the equivalent of six marathons in six days through the desert at the Marathon des Sables.

The pair took on the outstanding challenge of the notorious Marathon of the Sands, covering 156 miles over six days through the Sahara Desert, for national disability charity, Sense.

They undertook a year-long training programme to complete the ultra-marathon, where they ran for several hours each day in 50C heat, carrying their own rationed supplies of food and water.

The brothers took inspiration from their sister, Felicity, to take on the mammoth challenge in aid of Sense.

Due to a rare genetic disorder, 27 year old Felicity is blind with complex needs, and has been supported by Sense for several years.

Their fundraising exploits exceeded their original target, through the support and generosity of family, friends and colleagues.

James Stafford Allen, said: “Completing the Marathon des Sables, following 12 months of preparation, was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience for my brother and I.

“It was extremely tough, particularly having rationed food and water for the 156-mile journey through the desert, which resulted in us both losing a lot of weight.

“But, being totally detached from technology and travelling through such beautiful landscape was amazing.

To prepare yourself for the mental challenge for something as physically testing as this, you have to have the right motivation for doing so.

“The race is something we have spoken about for several years, and we’re so happy to have now accomplished it for Sense.

“Sense has always been a great support to our sister Felicity and her pretty complex needs.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of our family, friends and colleagues in helping us beat our fundraising target, and the amount is still rising.”

The money raised by the brothers will help Sense continue its work supporting people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, to live full independent lives.

To sponsor the Stafford Allen brothers, visit: