East Lancs mum set to tackle race on blazing sands of Morocco

Blackburn Citizen: Audra Banks Audra Banks

AN EAST Lancashire mum is set to take on ‘the toughest race on earth’ in a bid to finish her wish list before her 50th birthday.

Audra Banks, 48, will take on the 154-mile Marathon De Sables in April 2015 alongside 1,000 other entrants from across the world.

The Gisburn mum-of-two has already visited Mount Everest, taken part in a skydive and completed the Lakeland 100 as part of her bucket let.

After finishing the run, which has seen the likes of former Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell take part, Audra intends to finally complete the list by taking a trip to Las Vegas and Hong Kong.

Started in 1986 by Patrick Bauer, a French concert promoter, the Marathon De Sables in Morocco is now in its 28th consecutive year and requires runners to be self-sufficient throughout the multi-stage event.

Audra, who is originally from Burnley, has been training for the six-day trek since April and tries to run 60 miles a week.

When she’s not in training Audra provides first aid training and covers sporting events throughout Lancashire.

Audra, who lives in Main Street, said: “I’m apprehensive about the trek.

“It will be a massive challenge and it will be a huge achievement when I get to the end.

“I have been in training since I signed up in April and things are going well at the moment.

“It has taken four years to get a place because there are only 1,000 spaces and it’s so popular.

“Pushing myself is something that I have always been interested in and something that I have had to do to complete my list.

“I suppose that when I get to the end I will just come up with a number of other things to do.

“Running and doing outdoors activities has always appealed to me but this will be a toughest thing that I have ever done.

“It’s styled as an extraordinary race for extraordinary people and I think that’s fitting.”

In 1984 Patrick Bauer, a French concert promoter, started the race after completing a 200-mile trek across the Sahara desert.

The actual routes and formats change every year.

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