One amazing Appeal Team runner played her cards right when she took on a world famous marathon in Las Vegas in aid of children's and cancer charities. On 13th November, Sam Newnham headed to the 'The Entertainment Capital of the World' for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Taking place in the Nevada Desert since 1998, the marathon is known for providing entertainment along the course from some of the world's most famous acts. Past performers have included Goo Goo Dolls, Flo-Rida and, this year, Snoop Dogg.
Having already taken on many races for the Appeal before, including the 2016 Leeds Half Marathon, and pacing events such as the Burnley and Leeds 10Ks, Sam set herself the ultimate challenge of running 26.2 miles in desert terrain.
In the build-up to Vegas, Sam also ran the Yorkshire Marathon as part of the Appeal Team, completing it in a time of 3:51. Flying out on the Tuesday before the race, Sam said completing the Yorkshire event in this time made her feel confident for the same distance in the Nevada desert.
As well as the marathon, Sam took part in the Las Vegas 5K the night before. Talking about the conditions at the 5K on her blog, Sam said: "Saturday had been hot during the day and didn't let up in the evening.
"I needed water, and lots of it. I think I managed to drink 3 large bottles in one go!"
The next day was the marathon. With an "epic" start that included live music and fireworks, Sam said: "I felt so excited to be a part of this amazing event.
"I set off at the pace I'd wanted to run at all the way (and which I had maintained throughout the Yorkshire Marathon). But at about Mile 4, I knew this wasn't going to happen. It was so, so hot and I was already feeling dehydrated."
At the halfway point, Sam said, "I knew I had to dig deep now and run another 13.1 miles. I thought about quitting, I thought about crying. The race became all about making it to the end."
And make it to the end she did, completing this desert marathon in an impressive time of 4:07. "It was really the toughest race I'd ever taken part in and I'd made it to the end!" Sam said.
Sam ended up finishing in the top 25% of marathon runners, which she said "felt amazing. All the hard work and determination had paid off!"
We want to say massive congratulations to Sam on completing this incredibly tough marathon, as well as many other runs throughout the year. Through taking on these challenges, Sam has raised over £500 for the Appeal so far, as well as two other charities, CRPS UK and Care Of Police Survivors (COPS). We are so grateful to Sam for raising money for the Appeal through her incredible running efforts.
You can still donate to her challenge on Virgin Money Giving by clicking here.
You can read about Sam's full Las Vegas Marathon experience on her blog: http://www.marathonsam.co.uk/