Highly-decorated Whitehill veteran Brian Wood is looking for sponsors for his attempt at the fabled 250km Marathon des Sables across the Sahara Desert in April when temperatures will top 50C.

It will be the third and final long-distance challenge for the former Colour Sergeant and Military Cross recipient, who ran 25 marathons in 25 days in November 2021 and last autumn ran 35 marathons in 35 days – including four on the Falkland Islands – making national headlines as a result.

He is being supported by Fareham-based IT firm Matrix, but needs more help to reach his £250,000 fundraising target for veterans charity Walking with the Wounded (WWTW).

Brian, 42, has raised more than £172,000 for WWTW, which helps veterans who have been mentally or physically wounded get back on their feet, and next month's race will be his biggest challenge yet. 

Fareham-based IT company Matrix has stepped up to the plate with support for Brian, who has confirmed his place in the gruelling Marathon des Sables in southern Morocco – acknowledged as the toughest footrace on earth.

But more support is needed to enable him to arrive in Africa two weeks before the race starts on April 23 to allow him to acclimatise. 

“The fact is that the conditions are so extreme and inhospitable that only 47 per cent of the 1,000 runners actually complete the seven-day course across the endless sand dunes, mountains and white-hot salt plains,” said Brian. 

“And as if that wasn’t enough, you have to carry what you need to survive on your back, which probably weighs about 10kg, so it’s absolutely vital I have the proper preparation.

“At the moment I’m running up to 18 miles a day and will be enduring sessions in a heat chamber in Farnham to mirror the conditions I’ll be facing.” 

Nic Cronin, managing director of Matrix, got to know Brian through their love of Portsmouth FC and have formed a firm friendship. He said: “Brian has done the most incredible job and supporting him for this race is a privilege. Rest assured we’ll be tracking his every mile at our headquarters in Fareham and I would urge other local companies to also help if they possibly can.”  

To support Mr Wood, who is married with two sons and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry after seeing action in Iraq in 2004, see https://givepenny.com/brianmds