Sahara Marathon - Press area - Sahara Marathon

Maidenhead Man Tackles Sahara Marathon

Newbridge Networks' Derek Jackman attempts 140-mile Marathon across Sahara Desert

Maidenhead, 5 April 2000 - Derek Jackman from Bramley, near Maidenhead, this week sets off on a gruelling 140-mile marathon across the Sahara desert. Known as "the toughest footrace on earth", the 'Marathon des Sables' is a six-day race across sand dunes and rocky desert, in temperatures of up to 120F. Jackman, 37, is being sponsored by his Maidenhead employer Newbridge Networks to reach the finishing line.

Derek joins a world of self-confessed "lunatics" to endure the hazards of the desert, which include scorpions, poisonous snakes and sand-storms. He explains, "The Sahara Marathon is the hardest thing I've ever attempted. Since taking part in last year's London Marathon, I've stepped up my training programme, gradually building to 12-15 miles per day, six days per week. I allow myself one day off per week for good behaviour."

Derek has lost over a stone in weight whilst training, and expects to lose another stone during the event. Participants of the marathon must be self-sufficient throughout the race, surviving on freeze-dried food and rationed water supplies. "I'll have to wear the same clothes for the whole duration and in the desert there are no showers!," explains Derek.

Newbridge Networks has sponsored Derek's entry and he has nominated the World Society for Protection of Animals, Dream Makers, a charity for terminally ill children, and Macmillan Cancer as his designated charities. He alone will raise 5,500 for these three worthy causes on completion of the marathon.

Newbridge Networks designs, manufactures, markets and services wide area networking solutions for service providers in more than 100 countries. On February 23, 2000, Newbridge entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Alcatel, a world leader in end-to-end voice and data communications solutions systems. Alcatel's leadership in broadband access combined with the Newbridge leadership in ATM/MPLS /IP switched routing will make it one of the top players in the next generation networking market with complete, end-to-end communication solutions. Current Newbridge customers include the world's 350 largest telecommunications service providers. The Company employs more than 6,000 people on six continents.

To view Derek's progress, please visit


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This page last updated 5 April 2000