Award for Belton fundraiser
IT is a challenge that puts coping with Britain’s early onset of winter into perspective.
Through four hellish days, Tremaine Kent endured white-out blizzards, waist-deep snow and temperatures as low as -25C (-13F) as he ran 160km in the Antarctic.
Returning to Norfolk from the southern hemisphere last Wednesday, he proudly brought back a special spirit award for his efforts not only in the Antarctic but three desert challenges earlier in the year in Chile’s Atacama desert, China’s Gobi desert and the Sahara desert in Egypt.
The father of two, of Orwell Crescent, Belton, set himself the goal of completing the Four Deserts Challenge in one calendar year as a tribute to his partner Carla Saunders, who lost her year-long battle to lung cancer at the age of 33, 15 months ago.
Mr Kent’s sponsored efforts have raised more than �16,000 for his charity Carla’s Angels, dedicated to creating a memorial garden at the palliative care centre being planned at Gorleston’s James Paget University Hospital. By next May, when he leads a group of local women to the top of Ben Nevis, he hopes to have reached the necessary �30,000.
Describing the people involved in palliative care as “walking angels”, he said: “I looked after Carla for a year after coming back from Iraq in September 2008. Caring for her at home was great but we would have certainly used the centre if there had been one.”
Throughout his challenges, friends at the Fitness 2000 gym in Southtown Road, Yarmouth, have supported him every step of the way through daily blogs he has posted.
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The Antarctic adventure, which he started with a torn knee ligament and finished with two broken toes sustained from running on ice, began with a two-and-a-half-day boat journey from the southern tip of Argentina.
“It was very rough but the wildlife we saw, including whales and albatrosses, was fantastic,” he said.
The first day of racing was over a 14km (nine miles) looped course on Deception Island before the party of athletes from all around the world moved on to a glacier.
“We had 23 hours of daylight but at times we had to stop when the weather became too bad,” he said.
“I did a lot of forces training in Arctic conditions, so I found it easier than other athletes and ran the whole way.”
Carla’s parents Gladys and Carl have looked after the children, Kyle, 13, and Star, 11, during Mr Kent’s training and racing.
In the build-up to the Atacama challenge, Mr Kent, 41, was doing all-night runs, going out at 7pm and getting home at 7am and running as far as 89km (55 miles) to Happisburgh and back.
High altitude and 49C (120F) heat were hazards in Chile and during the Gobi desert run the mercury climbed even further to 54C (129F).
His knee injury forced him to stop after the first day of the six-day race in the Sahara, but Mr Kent has already vowed to return next year to complete all four challenges.
He said: “I am a different person after running through all the deserts. I have had my grieving process and now feel I am on the right track.”
Mr Kent, who now works in the security industry, pledged to devote the next five years to helping the cause of palliative care.
He is already planning a 2,660-mile run around the coast of Britain next September.