Wimbledon mum runs the Sahara Desert three times over in honour of late father 

A mother-of-three from Wimbledon has run the Sahara three times over in honour of her late father.

Karen and her husband, Jon O’Donnell, have raised over £50,000 while racing through the Sahara for Macmillan as the charity helped her late father when he was diagnosed with late-stage cancer

O’Donnell said:” I still find it hard to talk about my dad without crying. 

“He is much-loved and dearly missed. He died of kidney cancer six years ago – it was clear quite early on that he wasn’t going to live and that he wasn’t going to have very long either. 

“Between his diagnosis and dying, he only had 11 months.”

The couple have said that he would always be remembered as a proud Irish man with a twinkle in his eye. 

O’Donnell’s previous marathons were in 2019 and 2021.

She took on the infamous ‘Marathon des Sables’ which takes place annually and covers a distance of 156 miles, with participants running for 6 days straight, across the Sahara Desert.

Jon had to pull out of the 2021 marathon after three days due to heat exhaustion as the temperatures in the dunes reached over 55 degrees. 

They were both able to successfully complete the race this year as it was much cooler.

O’Donnell said: “The race itself is really hard. It’s seriously rough. 156 miles across the Sahara Desert – it’s known as the toughest foot race on earth for a reason! 

“You have to be very self-sufficient – basic tents, carry all of your own food and kit, the toilet facilities non-existent.

“However, there’s always lots of medical support on-hand and the camaraderie is amazing. You often meet people who are there for a tragic or emotional reason – I have never seen so many men cry.”

The couple are still grateful for anyone that is willing to donate as they push towards their goal of £25,000.  

Support Jon and Karen at . 

Related Articles