Former serviceman from Sidmouth - told he’d never run again - to take on 156-mile ultra-marathon
- Credit: Archant
A former serviceman from Sidmouth, once told he would never run again, has earned a place in the world’s toughest footrace.
Baz Gorman, 50, has been applying to complete the 156-mile Marathon Des Sables for two decades.
He found out he had finally landed a spot the day after undergoing knee surgery.
Baz, who grew up in the town and went to Sidmouth College, broke his ankle aged 25 when he was with the Australian army after emigrating to the country after serving with 40 Commandos in Lympstone.
“It became severely arthritic - at 25 I was told I would never run again,” said Baz, whose father Roy still lives in Sidmouth. “Since then, I have completed two London marathons, five peak runs and four Grizzlies.
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As part of the six-day marathon through the Moroccan desert, former Arcot Road resident Baz will have to be self-sufficient.
The paramedic and clinic manager will fly out on April 7 for the start of the race on April 9 and celebrate his birthday during the challenge. The race will feature more than 1,000 runners from around the world.
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Father-of-two Baz said: “It’s so ‘Walter Mitty’ you cannot make it up.
“My initial goal is to get round. I want to enjoy it and soak in the atmosphere, just because I’m so lucky to be there.”
Baz has worked in some of the world’s toughest terrains in the army, but said preparing to be self-sufficient was a real challenge.
He added: “When I lived in Sidmouth, I did all of the Ten Tors, the Pathfinder run and I did the Duke of Edinburgh at the college.
“It’s having those outdoor skills that we take for granted, packing and unpacking, sleeping bags, looking after yourself, being able to cook for yourself.”
Now an Okehampton resident, Baz is raising money for the military charity Walking with the Wounded and has raised more than £1,000 so far.