The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

Tackling Rising Rates of Melanoma

A Diary: The Marathon des Sable for Melanoma

Catch up here with how Ashley Charlwood is getting on in the desert… currently competing in the epic race that is Marathon des Sables… doing it for melanoma! The following posts are relayed through Ash’s wife, Michaela…

Ash’s first day – progress report

Hi, Michaela here relaying Ash’s progress report from the first day of his Marathon des Sable. Be aware that he is only allowed to send one email a day, and that email has a 1000 character limit! He is however allowed to receive emails via the official MdS website, and I’m sure he’d appreciate your encouragement, so please feel free to write to him.


Yesterday technical checks all good. 6 tent mates so a bit of extra space. Today very hard 18km in Morocco biggest dunes and very hot. A few aches and pains, and the running was very tiring. Will see how I recover overnight. No serious blisters yet at all. Felt today that I should stop chasing a time/position. It really was a tough 33km took just under 6 hours and I was hoping for 4.5ish. But we’re all in the same conditions. Tomorrow is 1km short of a full marathon, but the road book shows less big dunes. One foot in front of the other! Amazing organisation – the logistics are immense. Just love being back in the Sahara, motorbikes and camels today, but lots of amazing views all round, even took pictures whilst shuffling along, nice way to get the heart rate down in the heat. Didn’t run out of water today, but tomorrow will be much tighter. It’s 1700 now and time to get some dehydrated food down me, some stretches and some sleep. Onward! Love Ash. xx

Ash’s report – Day 2

Second message from Ash below – please do write to him at – his number is 542 and I know he’ll appreciate each and every email. Thanks, Michaela


Hiya, recovered well overnight – yummy sweet and sour chicken last night. After that I got my emails.. thank you Ciara, Nigel, Gaye and Debbie. A great pick me up. I didn’t sleep too well, one tent mate was up sewing until 2am and with yesterday being the hardest first day ever there was a lot of commotion in the bivouac. Today was hot again but a wind that helped cool water poured over my head. I found a better way to carry 3l of water so that worked better. I struggled with food today so was pretty beaten for the last couple of hours. Got in and ate recovery powder and legs up for golden hour. Feel better now. First trip to Doc Trotters today. I kicked a stone yesterday and had a blood blister right under a toenail. I’ll lose the nail, it’s been drained and the iodine is making it throb right now. Tomorrow is going to be hard with lots of soft sand. We’re all holding back for the “big one”. All in all feeling pretty good at the moment, just worried about nutrition for 80km. Love, A xx

Day 3 – Report from Ash

Hi, today started well, a really nice run into some dunettes. First reasonable running so far. A fantastic 300m climb up rock was stunning. Felt pretty good until cp2 then my wheels came off big time. A big dried lake. Really really hot – 52c. I couldn’t find a rhythm even though everything should have been easy. I struggled to get food in for an hour and a half and really felt it. Walked to the finish and have planned to walk the big day tomorrow….80km is going to be about managing my body. I think 20hrs would be a real achievement, so finishing about 3am. No emails tomorrow. Had a toenail drilled this evening – iodine burns under the nail bed. Going to have double the calories tonight and try to enjoy tomorrow. The rest of the tent are doing well. Tent #96 is still all intact though Artur’s feet are mashed. Phil is about 120th, Dave is coming in strongly and Andrew is flying round. Linda and Rachel are doing really well, though Rachel suffered nosebleeds today. Hope all are well Love, Ash

Long day done! Ash’s fourth day report…

Hi, hope all is good with you. Long day done. It was epic. I rolled my ankle at CP2, so have a very sore walk this morning after 60km on it. It also means I have a lot of blisters. I didn’t manage to finish the same day, but it was close!  Amazing seeing top UK runner, Danny Kendal, fly by between CP3&4. Bivouac today is full of walking wounded, people still coming in until 7pm tonight. More people retired on the first two days than in most years. We’re all hoping everyone comes in. All my tent mates made it in. Just one more racing day – the marathon stage, then the charity day. I think its going to be tough with my aches and pains. I’m off to Doc Trotters tonight to have an abscess in my thigh drained and packed and my ankle strapped. Amazing service. Today is all about recovery, tomorrow is about finishing and getting our medals. The final stage isn’t timed so we’ll walk it as a tent, Ddraig Goch will be flying both tomorrow and Saturday. Looking forward to some cold welsh water! Love, Ash.

Success 🙂

Hello hello! DONE IT. Got the medal after another really tough day. Turns out a full marathon after 200km in 5 days before is really hard on your body…Got it done though, no special time, don’t know my classification yet. But whilst I want to know, it doesn’t matter as much as getting it done. There should be webcam of me crossing the line with the Ddraig Goch. I’ve just had an hour and a quarter with Doc Trotters sorting my feet out (ish) for tomorrows 7.7km amble. We’re taking it real slow. Then a 4 hour bus journey… to a shower, and shave, and something to drink that isn’t tepid water… I want Fanta, cold Fanta. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way and sent messages. We’re all really amazed and emotional about how many people this race touches. I’ll write more about it all next week – need food!

Love Ash xx

Ashley feet


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