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Belton man completes desert challenge

PUBLISHED: 09:56 23 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:10 30 June 2010

A Norfolk man has conquered the first stage of his bid to become the first Briton to complete four gruelling desert challenges in a single year.

Despite suffering in the inhospitable conditions of Chile's Atacama desert, Tremaine Kent summoned up enough motivation to complete the race as part of his pledge to raise money for a charity set up in memory of his partner.

A Norfolk man has conquered the first stage of his bid to become the first Briton to complete four gruelling desert challenges in a single year.

Despite suffering in the inhospitable conditions of Chile's Atacama desert, Tremaine Kent summoned up enough motivation to complete the race as part of his pledge to raise money for a charity set up in memory of his partner.

Mr Kent, a former elite special forces member from Belton, near Great Yarmouth, returned home last Tuesday, following the first part of The Four Deserts Challenge, which sees ultra-runners tackle 250km routes across the driest, hottest, windiest and coldest places on earth.

Mr Kent, 40, and his fellow competitors were delayed by a day in starting the race because of the earthquake in Chile, and were caught in an aftershock during the race in the Atacama desert.

Participants had to carry all the food and equipment they needed to live on for the seven-day event and the only support provided was a space in a tent, drinking water, a camp fire and a medical team.

Mr Kent said unsuitable food left him weak and that he battled with temperatures soaring to 49 degrees.

“It was emotional and spiritual,” he said. “I didn't eat for three days - I did five marathons without food. The heat affected me quite drastically.

“There was such a lack of water I suffered quite badly - I had a two-day spate of vomiting.”

On crossing the finishing line he was put on a drip for seven hours, but he put his incredible achievement down to his military discipline and the will to go on.

Mr Kent, who served in Iraq, left the military in September and has since dedicated himself to charity work in memory of his partner Carla Saunders, who died of cancer last year.

Mr Kent has already raised nearly one third of his £30,000 target for the first project of the Carla's Angels charity - creating a garden at the new palliative care centre at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

He now faces preparations for the other three footraces - across China's Gobi desert in June, Egypt's Sahara desert in October, and the Antarctic in November. Only two people, neither of them Britons, have achiev-ed the grand slam of completing all four desert events in a single year.

Mr Kent is hoping to attract more corporate sponsorship as he embarks on the next stage of his challenge. Anyone interested can call him on 07795 483881 or visit www.carlas-angels.com.

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