Holly and her dad take the Highway to Hell in the Marathon des Sables

A former Kelso Rugby Club captain and his daughter have battled through a six-day, 250km run through the 45°C heat of the Sahara desert to raise more than £12,000 for charity.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25th April 2018, 1:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th April 2018, 1:54 pm

What’s more, the duo, from Foulden, near Berwick, had to carry their 15kg kit and food, while navigating miles of sand dunes, salt flats, rocky planes and” jebels as high as the Scottish Munros”.

It’s a challenge that certainly isn’t taken lightly, and one that only ridiculously fit athletes can consider attempting.

But for 53-year-old farmer Clive Millar, who skippered the Tweedsiders 25 years ago, and his 26-year-old daughter Holly, it was a chance to spend time together and raise cash for their chosen charities – Cancer Research UK and Dementia UK – as well as letting out their competitive streaks.


Holly, who is a podiatrist now working in Yorkshire, told us: “Being with dad certainly helped us get through it ... there was no way I was going to let him beat me.

“And we had both raised so much money from people, neither of us wanted to let them down.

“We want to thank everyone who has supported us throughout our 18 months of training, the event itself by sending us emails of encouragement, and, of course, donating to our charities.

“The support from family and friends, local businesses and complete strangers has been very humbling and we count ourselves so lucky to have been able to take part in such an incredible race.”


The training the pair underwent included them running marathon distances with ever-increasing weights on their backs – often in the dead of night on Berwickshire’s rural roads.

And during the event, the race conditions were very testing to say the least.

Holly said: “Temperatures soared to 45°C during the day and dropped to 4° at night.

“Sand storms threatened the camps at night and anything that wasn’t battened down disappeared into the melee.”


Holly and Clive were among the 1,000 participants from 49 different countries who stood on the start line to listen to the traditional event song – ACDC’s Highway to Hell – fitting, given the heat and hardships ahead.

However, all their training saw them finish – something 40 of the athletes failed to do – a record low of drop-outs.

British competitors accounted for around 400 of the runners and collectively they raised more than £1.8m for various charities this year alone.

The race now has a charity stage which is compulsory for all competitors, which raises money to help educate underprivileged children in Morocco.


To donate, type Holly Millar or Clive Millar on virginmoneygiving.com