JACOB Coates says taking on  “toughest footrace on earth” is nothing compared to the fight his aunt has picked with ovarian cancer.

Jacob, former head boy of Hereford Cathedral School (HCS), is in training to run the Marathon Des Sables in April,  a 250km foot race across the Sahara desert over six days –  with  more than 90km to cover on day 5 alone.

And he’s got to carry all of his kit, all the way – on his back.

“ Training has been tough - fitting in two to five hour runs before or after a full day's work. For the last 4 months I have been running up to 150kms a week in order to get myself into the right physical and mental condition,” said Jacob.

An HCS pupil from 1997-2004, Jacob left as head boy to train as a critical care doctor working in Bristol, Merseyside and London before moving to Australia and a job at Manly Hospital, Sydney.

Jacob says the marathon is more than a personal challenge, motivated, as he is, by a “wonderful opportunity” to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Research -  the UK's leading ovarian cancer charity.

“I have chosen to raise money for this charity because my Auntie Soozie was recently diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  She is currently fighting her own personal battle, undergoing chemotherapy. She’s not alone, more than 7000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year with more than 4500 dying annually. Survival rates for Ovarian Cancer in the UK are amongst the lowest in Europe,”  said Jacob.

“The challenge facing me though is surmountable, the challenge facing many women with Ovarian cancer is not,” he said.

Go to  https://www.justgiving.com/Jacob-Coates1.