He vomited blood, hallucinated and lost all his toenails - but Craig Williams still completed the 168-mile race across the scorching Sahara Desert.
The local businessman and fitness guru endured an epic 270km journey in heat up to 50 degrees to raise more than £7,500 for charity.
Craig, 38, took part in the week-long Marathon des Sables (MdS) in Morocco - known as the ‘toughest footrace on Earth’ - finishing in the top 25 per cent of elite runners.
The former Royal Marine, who co-founded Heydour-based fitness camp Team Bootcamp, said: “Before the race I questioned whether the MdS was truly the toughest footrace on Earth - and after battling heat illness and dehydration on the first day, extracting heavily-blistered toenails along the route on day two, vomiting blood on day three and hallucinating on day four, I completely understood why.
“During my service I accumulated almost six years of desert living experience which paid huge dividends during the race. Running my own business and a hectic schedule meant I was far from being physically prepared, but knowing the desert and a tenacious determination were enough to see me through.
“The MdS was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
This year’s course was said to be longer and sandier than ever before - with head-on sand storms causing more participants to drop out in the first day than in the whole of the previous 30 events. Participants had to carry their entire food for the week, sleep in the desert under a dusty tarpaulin and endure gruelling routes over undulating sand dunes carrying more than 10 kilograms on their backs.
Craig, who suffered PTSD following service abroad in countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, has raised £7,500 for charity Head Start - which helps ex-service personnel with mental injuries.
Craig will give a talk about his experiences at Team Bootcamp, in Church Leys, Heydour, on Sunday, May 8, from 7pm. Free entry
To donate to Craig’s cause visit his fundraising page