A FORMER soldier will be facing the the challenge of a lifetime when he takes part in the toughest foot race on earth.

Bill Adsett, of St Andrew's Road, Malvern, is running in the Marathon De Sables, 156 miles across the Sahara desert.

Mr Adsett flies out to Morocco today (Friday, April 4) to take part in the race, which starts tomorrow at a location kept secret until the last minute.

"I've been in training for it for almost two years. That's how long in advance you have to register, which shows how popular an event it is," he said.

"I'll be running across sand dunes and over mountains, and the temperatures are expected to be between 20 and 50 degrees - I hope it's nearer to the 30 mark."

Mr Adsett, who was in the Royal Signals until six years ago, signed up for the race because he celebrates his 50th birthday later this year.

"I've never actually done a marathon, but I've competed in ultra races and other things like that, fell running and so on.

It will be a challenge, and I'm looking forward to it," he said.

"There are camps set up at the end of each stage, with tents and water supplied, but you have to carry everything else on your back, including your food."

He is also raising money for help the Heroes, and has already got pledges of about £2,500 towards his target of £3,000. Anyone who can help is urged to visit justgiving.com/Bill-Adsett and make a donation.