Stroud man completes six-day Sahara ultramarathon and raises over £20,000 for dementia research

Posted on 20th June 2016

A 25-year-old from Stroud, who had never run a marathon before in his life, has just completed the holy grail of foot races, Marathon des Sables, to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Alex Gordon Lennox (002)Alex Gordon Lennox, a management consultant, completed the challenge in April and raised an incredible £21,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity. A percentage of Alex’s total was also donated to blood cancer charity, Anthony Nolan. Marathon des Sables is a gruelling six-day challenge through the scorching Sahara desert. It starts with a marathon-a-day for three days, followed by a double marathon on the fourth day, a rest day and then a final marathon on the sixth. This totals over 250km.

It is known as the ‘toughest footrace on earth’, with temperatures often reaching 50°C. Each competitor must carry their kit on their backs while running, containing their food, equipment and sleeping gear, while passing over desert plains and climbing punishing sand dunes. Despite not having much experience of long-distance running, Alex came an amazing 72nd out of more than 1,000 people who took part. He chose to do the challenge as a way to fundraise for Alzheimer’s Research UK, a charity very close to his heart.

Bernard Gordon Lennox (002)
Alex’s grandad Bernard

His grandad, Bernard Gordon Lennox, developed Alzheimer’s five years ago. His symptoms began with memory loss, but he is now immobile, can barely speak and can no longer recognise his family.

Alex explained more about his challenge:

“My grandad was a general in the British Army and a very proud man. My granny always looked up to him but now she has to care for him. It’s shocking to see how he’s changed.

“The ultramarathon was extremely difficult – especially the first day when there was a full-on sandstorm in our faces, but it was worth it. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

“It wasn’t until my grandad was diagnosed and I started researching dementia that I realised how huge a problem it is. It’s the leading cause of death among women in the UK and the third for men. That’s why I’m supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK – so we can stop this awful condition.”

The funds from Alex’s challenge will go towards pioneering dementia research, focusing on prevention, diagnosis and treatments for the condition.

Zoe Baggott, Regional Fundraising Officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We can’t thank Alex enough for undertaking such a huge challenge on behalf of Alzheimer’s Research UK. His incredible efforts will help us to fund world class research into dementia. 225,000 people will develop the condition this year – that’s one every three minutes, so it’s more important than ever that we do everything we can to beat it.”

To support Alex, visit

For more information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit

Posted in Fundraising news