Blind Dave thanks trainers for Saharan meal deal

Marathon runner praises sponsors who helped raise money for charity.

After making history as a blind athlete completing the Marathon Des Sables Blind Dave Heeley took the chance to say thank to the Sandwell company that footed the food bill for his epic adventure.

The marathon man and avid West Bromwich Albion fan, who has raised thousands for charity, was sponsored by Oldbury business BCTG who covered the £500 cost of food for the six-day challenge.

“Things have been so hectic since I got back from the Marathon Des Sables, and then the London Marathon,” said Dave. “This is the first chance I’ve had to say thank you to staff at BCTG who basically fuelled me across the Sahara.

“Thanks to their contribution, which paid for specialist energy food, I was able to cover the cost of my food and my two guides which meant I could donate more money to the Albion Foundation.”

Labelled as the toughest running race on the planet Dave braved searing temperatures of between 45 and 50 degrees Celsius – around 122 degrees Fahrenheit – and freak weather, including sandstorms fanned by 60 mph winds to cover 160 miles in six days.

He completed the race in stages, with the longest being a 91km trek, while there was also a 42km stage. He had support from his two guides Tony Ellis and Rosemary Rhodes who accompanied him across the desert. His kit bag weighed around 9kgs and carried all his essentials – including all the food they needed to keep their energy levels up.

“Cottage pie was a favourite,” said Dave, “which considering the heat we were in was an odd choice but it helped power me on. I am very grateful to the support of BCTG and my many other sponsors who helped me so I could help the Albion Foundation.”

Sue Baker, from training and apprenticeship experts BCTG, said: “Dave has been an inspiration to some of the young people we work with in Sandwell and across the Black Country. It was a pleasure for us to play a small part by sponsoring all his food rations for the challenge as a way of fuelling our local hero in one of the world’s toughest challenges.”

Dave has raised more than £20,0000 for the Albion Foundation, a charity that works in partnership with his beloved West Bromwich Albion FC to use sport as a way to benefit the community.