Barrister, broadcaster and author Rob Rinder will take on the toughest footrace on earth this April, with a team from the British Army in support of our charity.



Rob has recruited a team of elite Army professionals with a range of invaluable skills and experience to run the challenge. Along the way, Rob will be joining Olympic champion Heather Stanning OBE, Infantry Colonel Mark Nooney MC, Army Corporal Natalya Platonova and the British Army’s most senior soldier – Army Sergeant Major Paul Carney.


The team will run 250km in just 6 days over the harshest terrain on earth as part of the legendary Marathon des Sables event – a truly gruelling multi-stage adventure in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments on the planet, the Sahara Desert.


Rob and his team are running the event in support of our charity – the Army Benevolent Fund – and will help raise vital funds to support soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need. This year the charity is celebrating 80 years of unbroken service to the Army family since its formation in 1944.



Mark joined the Army Cadet Force as a teenager and by 2007 was a Major deployed to Iraq, where his role in overseeing the tracking and detention of rebel fighters was rewarded with a Military Cross. Mark is the only member of the team who has tackled the infamous Marathon des Sables before.

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Corporal Natalya Platonova (QARANC)

Natalya is a student Mental Health Nurse with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. She was also winner of the Ch4 TV show The Circle, and has hiked 185km from Oxford to Buckingham Palace with a medicine ball, representing the ‘invisible burden’ of poor mental health, while fundraising for ABF.

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Major Heather Stanning

Heather was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 2008. Alongside rowing partner Helen Glover she achieved public acclaim after winning the very first Gold for Team GB at London’s 2012 Olympics. The pair went on to smash numerous international records before winning Gold again at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Heather then decided to retire on a high and returned to her military career.

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Warrant Officer Class One Paul Carney

Paul joined the army in 1997 and has served in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. His engineering expertise is vast, from demolition to bridging. He is the British Army’s Sergeant Major, the most senior soldier in the Army and he is a Trustee of the Army Benevolent Fund.



Follow the team as they train and prepare for the race: 

Rob Rinder: Twitter/x  Instagram  Facebook

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