Blackburn woman completes 100km Sahara Desert challenge
A WOMAN who trekked through the Sahara Desert said she considered giving up the challenge after a grueling sandstorm, but was spurred on by her fundraising efforts.
Kelly McHugh, 39, took on a huge challenge by walking 100km (62 miles) across the Moroccan desert in five days to raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity.
Despite all the hardships along the way, Cherry Tree’s Kelly and 32 other challengers, including her friend Aimee Hindley, crossed the finish line together.
She said: “Crossing that finish line – you can’t describe that feeling.
“There were tears, there were laughs, there was relief, there was elation that you achieved it.
“There were people saying they couldn’t hack another sandstorm.
“The group worked together and got everyone through. It was a rollercoaster of emotions crossing that finish line.
“On the last day, we waited on this sand dune so that we could all cross the finish line together.”
Sahara Desert” alt=”Lancashire Telegraph: Kelly McHugh at the finish line after completing the 100km trek through the Sahara Desert” class=”editor-image”/>
After traveling to Heathrow on March 25, Kelly began the trek with 32 others three days later, crossing the finish line after five very grueling days on Friday April 1.
Kelly, who works for Lancashire Fire and Rescue in their prevention team, said the days were grueling after the group was hit by three consecutive days of sandstorms which ‘felt like glass and stone hitting their face “.
Kelly added: “There was a time when we hit this really bad sandstorm and I just sat there and thought, I can’t do this anymore.
“Then the sandstorm subsided and we dusted ourselves off and you think why you’re here, why you’re doing this and you’re okay.”
Despite her training and preparations, Kelly said there were some unusual moments throughout the trip that she didn’t expect.
She added: “One of the weirdest things for me – when you drive down a country road here you are used to seeing cows and sheep in the fields.
“As we drove into the desert on the first day, all you could see were camels walking around.
“Also the campsites were really impressive. I expected, being in the desert, that we would have picnic style meals, but in the evenings we had three course dinners and we had porridge and pancakes in the mornings.”
Her impressive challenge saw her raise over £3,500 for the Fire Fighters Charity, with a charity car wash at Preston Fire Station on April 23 held between 10am and 4pm to top up her funds.