KLANG: A 41-year-old Malaysian woman successfully completed the six-day 250km Marathon des Sables (MdS) across the Sahara Desert on Saturday (April 14) when she crossed the finish line in Morocco.
She is the first Malaysian woman to have completed the MdS.
Datin Sue Ding - who is a lawyer in London - crossed the finish line after a year of preparation, including participating in several half and full marathons around the world and several training sessions in a heat chamber.
She had also practised running on sand dunes in Dubai and completed a seven-day 169 km trek on rocky terrain in Lanzarote, Spain despite spraining her ankle on the first day.
MdS participants experienced daytime temperatures of around 30°C and night-time temperatures that drop to 14°C as well as the possibility of a sandstorm that will lower visibility to zero.
She had participated in the MdS to raise funds for two charities - Make A Wish Malaysia (MAWM) and Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB).
MAWM grants the wishes of children with critical illnesses whilst MDDB rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes street dogs.
Meanwhile, her 25-year-old nephew Eugene Ong said his aunt was a brave woman to have participated in MdS.
He added Ding was spurred sheer passion and determination which helped her in her quest.
"When she started running marathons for charity, I thought it would be a one-off thing but she kept doing because of her love for dogs," said Ong.
Ong said he was shocked when Ding signed up to participate in the MdS.
"It’s not an easy feat and she had the passion to push herself to the next level that made her go for it," said Ong.
He added his aunt had trained hard and had sprained her legs as well as strained her muscles during marathons, but would still push herself to make it across the finish line.
"My aunt has shown the extent she is willing to go to help those in need and has proven the impossible can become possible with determination and hard work," said Ong.
Ding initiated crowd-funding to raise funds for the two charities.
Those who want to show support towards Ding's feat can visit https://www.simplygiving.com/appeal/sueding to contribute.
This story has been amended to correct a couple of factual errors.