SPIDERS, scorpions and sand are just a few of the treacherous dangers faced by runners on the Marathon des Sables.

Not only does the marathon of sand involve running 150 miles - the equivalent of six marathons in five days - but entrants will have to face extreme temperature changes running in the Sahara.

Intrepid Duncan Forrest, part owner of Goldrig Engineering in Brown Street, Widnes, is braving the 50 degree heat to raise £4,000 for three-year-old Tom Alcock.

This little boy from Lowton who has bilateral spastic diplegia, a type of cerebral palsy, needs £50,000 to help him walk unaided for the first time.

Duncan, aged 50, said: “I was looking for a charity and when I saw the piece about Thomas it just seemed perfect. There was me doing all this running while Thomas can’t walk properly so I contacted his mum Jill Cropley and she was made up.

“The marathon is getting close now so I am slightly apprehensive but this is what I have trained for.

“I have been running for 12 years and started by jogging around the block before working my way up to marathons. But I got bored of running these and needed a new challenge.

“I have always wanted to run the Marathon des Sables but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish it but after running a few ultra marathons I thought why not give it a go.

“I’ve invested in a good sleeping bag because I think getting a good night’s sleep is going to be key. It zips up around my head so spiders can’t get in.”

Tom's parents are trying to raise £50,000 to send him for for pioneering surgery in America.

Duncan, who lives in Warrington, will fly out on April 4 and has already raised more than £1,000.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/Duncan-Forrest.