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Albion fan going to extreme lengths for club’s charity

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A Brighton & Hove Albion fan is taking part in one of the most-gruelling races in the world to raise money for the club’s official charity – inspired by the memory of his late father-in-law.

Iain McCallum is taking on the six-day, 156-mile Marathon de Sables this April and has been preparing for the challenge by running at least 10 miles every day since September, as well as running between  his Shoreham home and the American Express Community Stadium for Seagulls home games.

The event, which is known as the toughest foot race on earth, sees runners tackle the inhospitable terrain and extreme heat of the Sahara, where temperatures are expected to reach 50 degrees centigrade during the race.

Participants are also expected to be completely self-sufficient and carry all their supplies and bedding on their backs.

Iain, who is also training regularly at Brighton Boxing Fitness, however, can’t wait to get started. “It’s an event that has been on my radar since I began running,” he explained. “I liked the idea of pushing yourself where no one else could ever push you. It’s every runner’s dream to take part.”

As an avid Brighton fan, Iain decided to run in aid of the club’s official charity, Albion in the Community (AITC). And he has extra motivation for taking on the extreme challenge – the tragic loss of his father-in-law, Glenn Whitehead.

Iain’s wife Laura used to sit alongside her dad at Albion matches before he sadly lost his life in 2001. “Glenn had a brain tumour and we lost him on our wedding day,” explained Iain. “He was a massive Seagulls fan. I truly believe if he were still around, seeing the work the AITC does, he would be so proud. So this run is for Glenn.”

AITC is now the largest provider of disability football opportunities in the area  and the money raised from Iain’s mammoth run  will help fund that work, and the charity’s other  projects throughout Sussex.

Having seen the impact AITC has in the local community, Iain, who has run eight previous marathons, is determined to do all he can to help the charity. He said: “There’s a real internal drive to raise as much as I can. For me, running is the easy bit.

“The strongest people are the beneficiaries that AITC works with. They are stronger than I ever will be.”

Surely the thought of taking on such an epic challenge must be daunting though? “I’m not sure how my body is going to react to the intense heat, different terrain and feeling like I’m carrying the world on my back for the week,” said Iain. “It’s a new challenge, but one I’m very excited about.”

Iain can be sponsored online at: