Two marathons in two days for Washington's action man

A fundraiser is to run two marathons in two days in the Sahara Desert for the charity he works for.

Sunday, 13th October 2019, 9:00 am
Grainger Simpson, with some new friends when he trekked across the Sahara in 2009.

On October 10 Grainger Simpson flies to Marrakesh in Morocco before heading to a Bedouin camp deep in the Sahara. He will then run 52 miles in two days to complete the challenge, returning to the UK a few days later.

In temperatures of up to 35 degrees his first marathon will be from the village of Afra to the Bedouin camp 26 miles away. The next day he will run from the camp to the finish line at the stunning Nakhla Dunes on the edge of the desert.

Grainger, 62, of Albany in Washington, has worked for the North East Autism Society (NEAS) for 15 years, where he is operations manager.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Grainger Simpson has been training hard for his double Sahara marathon.

This isn’t his first Sahara trip. He trekked across it for NEAS in 2009 and has undertaken a number of other unusual charity challenges over the years. He has also walked the Great Wall of China and two years ago, finished another double marathon in Iceland.

Grainger said: “I’ve jumped from a plane, I’ve been on a slip wire from the Stadium of Light. Now I’m trying this.

“I enjoy running. I do three or four miles three or four times a week. It’s the perfect start to a day for me. Age is no barrier.

He is running the marathons despite having recently overcome plantar fasciitis – a sore heel.

Grainger Simpson taking part in a gruelling scramble event.

He added: “Every so often a tough challenge comes along and I wonder ‘Can I do that?’ and I arrive to do it. I’m still asking that question. But I just focus on the finish.

“In Iceland, I climbed into my sleeping bag wet and freezing cold. I thought: ‘Next time I do something like this, it’s going to be somewhere warm.’ Well, you don’t get much warmer than the Sahara.”

Grainger’s wife Julie is behind his efforts and is very understanding.

He said: “She knows what I’m like and has given up trying to stop me.”

Grainger has not set a target figure and is simply trying to raise as much money as possible. To contribute, visit