Blackburn woman walking through the Sahara desert on a fundraiser
A mother of two hikes 100km across the Sahara Desert in just five days to raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity.
Kelly McHugh, 39, works for Lancashire Fire and Rescue on their prevention team and was inspired to work alongside her colleagues during the pandemic.
Kelly, from Cherry Tree, will be joined by her friend Aimee Hindley, who works as a call handler for firefighters, to take on the mammoth challenge.
Kelly said: “I feel pretty calm actually – incredibly actually.
“I’m looking forward to it. I spoke to a firefighter from Northern Ireland who did this in 2019 and he gave me lots of information and advice.
“I feel like I’m prepared and ready.”
She will fly to Morocco from Heathrow on Friday before starting the challenge on Saturday morning.
On day one, Kelly will run 9km before taking on the toughest challenge on day two when she completes 30km of the challenge.
On the third and fourth days, she will walk 23 km before completing the last 16 km on the fifth day.
To prepare for the challenge, Kelly has taken long walks whenever she could, but her biggest concern is coping with the desert heat.
She added: “I’ve walked a lot of miles – distance won’t be the issue.
“The only thing I haven’t been able to do is train in the heat and I think that will be the most important thing.
“I’ve walked marathons or anywhere over 10 miles probably four times a week. I’ve done a little sand dune training but not a lot.
“I do what I can, I commute between work, and I’m a single mom with two kids.”
Kelly has raised £3,100 for the charity and hopes to raise more during and after the challenge.
During the pandemic, Kelly joined the vaccination campaign, biting hundreds at Blackburn Cathedral.
She received a banner from the EG Group, which is a strong supporter and fundraiser for the charity.
You can support Kelly by making a donation JustGiving page here.