The countdown to competing in "the toughest footrace on earth" is on for the boss of a life-saving London charity.
Jonathan Jenkins, chief executive of London's Air Ambulance, is hoping its second time lucky as he takes on the equivalent of six marathons in six days through the heat of the Sahara desert, in aid of the charity.
The father-of-two will be part of a group of 14 daredevils from the air ambulances' life-saving charity to take part in the Marathon des Sables later this year.
It will be his second attempt, after failing to cross the finishing line of the 156-mile race in 2016.
Speaking about why he didn't finish the race, the 47-year-old of Ridgeway Road, Isleworth, said: “I was too heavy and dehydrated - had an IV drip on day four of day six but pulled out as wasn’t confident I could complete safely, and had promised my wife I wouldn’t cross a certain line. My training schedule was too light.
"This time I am nearly three stone lighter, so much fitter and also going as part of a big team which will definitely help.
"Also I promised my father before he died I would return and get a medal. A promise I intend to honour.”
The LAA team is made up at least three doctors, a paramedic, pilot, fire officer, a former patient and supporters.
Collectively they hope to raise a momentous £50,000 for the charity that delivers a 24/7 advanced trauma team to the capital's most critically injured.
Speaking about taking up the challenge again, Mr Jenkins said: “Because I failed to complete the event in 2016 when I was raising funds for London’s Air Ambulance, I feel I have unfinished business and am determined to get to the end.
"It is a great privilege to be taking part this time round with such an inspirational group of people who I know will spur me on.
"I hope people and businesses in London will get behind our cause and support our fundraising attempt.
"Any money given to the team goes straight to providing London’s lifesaving charity, and ensuring we can maintain our 24/7 service.”
The service treats on average five people in London daily, performing miraculous medical interventions at the roadside.
The service costs £10million per year, the majority of which has to be found through fundraising.
The 2018 Marathon des Sables race starts on Sunday April 8.
The air ambulance team will fly to Morocco on April 6 to begin final race preparations.
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