Scully “feeling good” on desert challenge

Paul Sculthorpe and Nick Wilkinson in the Sahara Desert

Paul Sculthorpe and Nick Wilkinson in the Sahara Desert

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Ex Saints star Paul Sculthorpe MBE is “feeling good” as he takes on an incredible desert marathon challenge alongside a pal he met through Wigan charity Joining Jack.

The former rugby icon is currently in the middle of the infamous 150-mile Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert - a gruelling six-day endurance challenge dubbed The Toughest Footrace on Earth.

The 37-year-old, who is raising cash for the Steve Prescott Foundation, is taking on the challenge alongside Nick Wilkinson after being inspired by a TV documentary featuring Olympic rower James Cracknell.

His wife, Lindsay, said: “I’ve not been able to have much contact with Paul but he tells me he’s feeling good - apart from a few blisters and problems with his feet. I think the heat has been getting to them a bit, but they sound like they’re both in good spirits.

“We’ve enjoyed being able to track them to see where they are and then watch the web cam as they cross the line each day. They’re doing an incredible job.

“Although I’m really looking forward to seeing Paul again, I’m half dreading it because I know he’ll probably already have started planning his next challenge.

“He keeps mentioning Mount Everest but I’ve turned a blind eye to it so far!”

Paul and Nick, who are competing alongside legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, braved sandstorms to complete the first three days of the challenge in a competitive combined total of just 20 hours.

But the duo, who tested themselves in a Liverpool John Moores University heat chamber to prepare for the searing temperatures, still faced the toughest stage of the race - a gruelling 86km day and night trek.

Speaking ahead of the Marathon des Sables, Paul admitted it would be his “toughest ever challenge”.

He said: “Aside from the sheer distance, the heat will be the biggest test. We’ve been told to expect 50 degrees-plus.

“We’ve got to be fully self-sufficient too, so we’re going to have to carry all our bedding and food. I’m 100 kilos too - so I like my food!

“I’ve done a few challenges in the last few years and they seem to be getting more and more extreme. This is definitely a step up though.”

To add your support to Paul and Nick, go online at: www.justgiving.com/ScullyWilkyMDS