Leeds grandma hot foots it to the Sahara

GOING THE EXTRA MILE: Tish Joyce competing in the Marathon Des Sables.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: Tish Joyce competing in the Marathon Des Sables.
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A grandmother from Otley has completed one of the toughest races in the world just seven months after undergoing foot surgery.

Tish Joyce, 49, completed the Marathon Des Sables – which is the equivalent of running six back-to-back marathons – in the sweltering heat of the Sahara Desert.

She was unable to run from last August until January due to a stress fracture which she underwent surgery for in September. The operation meant Tish had just three months of training for the gruelling 156-mile race. Participants need to be in peak condition as they are required to carry all their food, sleeping bag, and running kit on their back for the six day race over sand and rocky terrain in southern Morocco – where April temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Farenheit.

Tish, who also ran the Great Wall of China Marathon last May, said; “I decided to enter the race just before The Great Wall of China Marathon. I had enjoyed the process of getting healthy and wanted a challenge that would push me outside my comfort zone – this is the ultimate challenge for runners. When I was injured I was devastated and at times didn’t know if I would ever run again.”

Tish was treated by Nick Harris, consultant foot and ankle surgeon and sports injury specialist at Spire Leeds Hospital.

Tish said: “I couldn’t have done it without the skill and expertise of Mr Harris and his team. It was the greatest feeling to be running again and although he only gave me 40:60 odds to compete in December, his expertise and insistence on my recovery regime made it possible.

“I cannot thank him and his team enough for this fantastic result.”