Exmouth woman completes gruelling Sahara Marathon for Saharawi refugees

A 40-year-old Exmouth woman has completed a gruelling challenge of running a marathon in the desert in a bid to raise much-needed funds for Saharawi refugees.

A 40-year-old Exmouth woman has completed a gruelling challenge of running a marathon in the desert in a bid to raise much-needed funds for Saharawi refugees.

Amanda Seymour, of Bicton Street, marked her 40th birthday running the Sahara Marathon in aid of UK charity, Sandblast.

The Exmouth runner's efforts - a gruelling five-hour 26-mile run in 30-degree heat - raised funds for Sandblast's goal of �50,000 to support artists in the refugee camps.

Card designer Amanda is still appealing for donations to further boost her final total.


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She described the marathon as 'tough' - running through soft sand in the burning sun.

"I think I am going to lose at least one toe nail. My feet are a right state," said Amanda.

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"The achievement of the run almost became insignificant as the rest of the week out there unfolded.

"The situation of the Western Sahara is really hard to take. Most Saharawis live in the refugee camps in SW Algerian in very harsh desert conditions and they really have very little to live on.

"The Saharawis that have stayed behind in the Western Sahara, which has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975, face an equally tough life - oppression, torture, imprisonment - all in silence.

"There is so little media coverage on all that is going on in the Western Sahara."

While Amanda was in the desert she gained first-hand experience of the plight of the Saharawi people living in the Algerian refugee camps, because all marathon competitors live with the community - the last colony in Africa - during the event.

She said the Saharawis had been waiting patiently for 18 years for the UN to solve the refugee problem.

"The Saharawis were amazing people. Their warmth and generosity was second to none," said Amanda.

"It was a very humbling experience to spend a week with them.

"They have built an amazing community in the refugee camps that we could all learn lessons from. It was all quite overwhelming. I would love to see them be able to return to live in their country and be free."

* To sponsor Amanda go to www.justgiving.com/AmandaSeymour

Learn more about the charity at www.sandblast-arts.org

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