Carl Cleghorn runs the Sahara

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Club fundraising partner, ultra-distance marathon man Carl Cleghorn, returned from the Sahara desert after running a 156-mile race and raised more than £6,000 for the club's benevolent fund.

Carl, 34, from Dudley Road, Sale braved temperatures of more than 50c - touching 130 Fahrenheit - during the six-day Marathon des Sables.

And the Sale Harrier finished in the top 40 per cent of runners - arriving 332nd in a field of 849 starters in which has been called "the world's toughest footrace".

"It was a much harder physical and mental challenge than even I expected," he says. "No words can describe what it was like. With blisters on my feet and nosebleeds from the heat, dust and stinging sand, I hurt everywhere for most of the week and felt like I'd been hit by a train!"

Carl arrived back in Sale more than 20lbs lighter after the equivalent of nearly six regular marathons over shifting sand dunes and uneven rocky ground in blistering North African heat.

Then he joined Rotarians to decide what local charities and causes will receive the donations that he has paid into Sale Rotary Club's benevolent fund.

"Carl's achievement is monumental, said the then club president Malcolm Brown. "Words can't express the debt that we and the people of Sale owe to him. Because of him many deserving causes will benefit, many hardships will be eased and many dreams will come true." 

The desert run earned Carl a Paul Harris Fellowship, one of Rotary's highest awards.

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In 2012 when the Olympic 'real relay baton' passed through Greater Manchester, Carl was, of course, not far away. He wrote at the time about his "small part in history":

"... outside the large church spire in Heywood town centre, I collected the Real Relay Baton from Brian Delvin. This baton has been following the entire official Olympic torch starting 10 days after but, unlike the official torch, this one is being run the entire 8,000 miles in a relay, broken down into around 800 stages. It also has a GPS device fitted so you track it's progress live online.
"Withing hours of the weekly stage being available I had secured the Heywood to Manchester leg, at 14 miles the route passed through Bury, Whitefield, Prestwich, Higher Broughton and Cheetham Hill finishing on the Town Hall steps.
"The allotted time was 2hr 20 mins, so I though I'd have to take it really easy, but as the baton was 45 minutes behind schedule when I got it, I could run properly and completed the leg in 1hr 55 ... the run down Deansgate did not go un-noticed and caused quite a stir as most people seemed to think it was the official torch!"