A FUNDRAISER is set to take on his toughest challenge yet: a seven day, 250 kilometre ultra marathon through an African desert.

Steve Howard is no stranger to adversity, and his previous feats include cycling across America last year, facing down bears and dogs.

He says Namibia, where his latest challenge will take place, is a place 'I have long wanted to visit'.

The ultra-marathon is entirely self-supported, meaning participants have to carry everything they need.

He said: "Essentially, this multi-stage race is a marathon a day for seven days, except for one when its the infamous double marathon stage. Of course, "running" over the huge sand dunes whilst carrying a large rucksac, which contains all the mandatory kit, food, water and medical kit stipulated by the organisers, is a bit harder than running on the road."

The race itself takes place at the end of April in the Skeleton Coast National Park which is within the Namib Desert, meaning vast place - the oldest desert in the world. The Namib Desert makes up 12 per cent of Namibia’s total land mass and is also home to the largest recorded sand dunes, spanning 300 metres high and 32 kilometres long.

Steve added: "The Skeleton Coast National Park stretches for approximately 500km in the north of the country and protects about one-third of Namibia's coastline. It is associated with famous shipwrecks - but the name came from the bones that lined the beaches from whaling operations and seal hunts, but more than a few of the skeletons were human.

Steve will be running in aid of the Dorset Blind Association. The charity provides services, support and advice to visually impaired people throughout Dorset. Their aim is simple - to ensure that everything they do is geared towards helping to make life better for visually impaired people in Dorset.

Donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephen-howard4