SOME people celebrate a landmark birthday with a big party or a holiday.
But Steve Radjen decided to mark turning 50 by taking part in the toughest footrace on earth, and raising £50,000 for charity.
Steve has been a keen supporter of Naomi House children’s hospice for some years and has already raised around £50,000 for the charity through sponsorship for marathons and other running events.
And he decided that the best way to mark his birthday was by raising that amount again, in just one year.
Steve’s running career and Naomi House have always been linked. He took up running in 2004, when he decided he needed to do something to get fit.
“I thought if I committed to running the London Marathon for charity, I couldn’t back out of it. That was the start. Prior to that I hadn’t really done any sport since my early 20s.
“My wife and I are blessed as we have two very healthy daughters.
We’d heard of Naomi House and felt that we’d like to do something for a charity that supports children and families that aren’t as lucky as us.”
Having asked friends to sponsor him before, Steve thought he had to do something big to reach his target of raising £50,000 and decided the Marathon Des Sables (MDS) was it.
Billed as the toughest foot race on earth, contestants cover 156 miles across the Sahara Desert in six days, carrying all their kit on their backs.
He became ill with a stomach bug while taking part and couldn’t eat for an entire day, during which he covered 54 miles of desert in 21 hours.
He was advised to consider dropping out but says that with so much sponsorship riding on him, he simply couldn’t.
Then, less than a week after completing the MDS, he ran the London Marathon, wearing his full MDS kit, including an 11kg backpack.
So far he has raised £40,000 and hopes to exceed his target with a gala ball which is being held on May 5.
He says: “I will have raised around £100K since I started in 2004.”
* For more information or to make a donation visit fifty4fifty.co.uk