One foot in front of the other: Matthew Pryke conquers the Gobi March

The Gobi March is arguably the most challenging event that anyone has embarked on for the Fine & Country Foundation. Seven marathons over six days is tough enough, but to add to the challenge, the course is set in the unpredictable and varied terrain of the Gobi Desert in China. 

Our brave volunteer was Matthew Pryke, Trustee of the Fine & Country Foundation. 4Deserts, who organised the event, gave us live updates each day and Matthew has a short amount of time each evening to contact us to let us know how he was getting on. To see how each day unfolded click here. 

We are incredibly proud of Matthew who has raised £3,715 and counting. To show your support for Matthew and help us reduce homelessness please click here

Matthew’s aim is to raise £3,500 for End Youth Homelessness. This is a national partnership formed of nine homeless charities who are fighting to end homelessness for people aged between 16 and 25. The scheme has made incredible progress so far as it focuses on five key areas: Prevention, Housing, Work, Health and Life Skills.


What was your motivation for doing the 4Deserts Gobi March?
Matthew’s response was, “I read a lot about what it involved and I couldn’t get over the real adventure involved in the challenge. I have taken part in plenty of challenges and runs in my life, but this was the first one which I felt would truly take me out of my comfort zone. The final push for me was that my friend, who had done three of the four 4Desert challenges asked me to join him on his final one. How could I say no? 

“However, the adventure was only one part of my motivation. As a Trustee for the Fine & Country Foundation I am naturally passionate about fighting homelessness. I wanted to find a challenge which was uncommon and that would actually motivate others to donate for me.”

Which was the most exciting day?
“There are two days to choose from, but both for very different reasons. The second day was the highest hill climb, with ascents of over 1,200 metres which is higher than Mount Snowdon. The run down was so exhilarating that everyone turned up at camp exhausted by in great spirits. 

“However, the other exciting day which plays on my mind is the Long March. This was by far the toughest day as we covered 50 miles through scorching temperatures. It was like being in a different world, it actually reminded me of something out of Star Wars. There were moments on the sand dunes and open plains when I would take a moment to admire the 360 degree view, but in that moment I completely forgot I was in a race. 

Now that you have been home for a few days, how are you feeling?
“Really good, still a little knackered, but thankfully my feet are recovering well. I am still exhilarated from the whole experience, but it is nice to come back down to earth”, said Matthew.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking of taking up an extreme challenge or something out of their comfort zone?
“It is often believed that these extreme adventures are done by superhuman people, but this isn’t true. I can guarantee that I am not Superman. My advice is just go for it. We had around 136 people taking part and 93 competitors who finished. There was no judgement or animosity between runners, just a great deal of support and encouragement from everyone. I made some incredible friends along the way and have invitations to visit them in Tuscany, South Africe, China and more.”


Congratulations, again, to Matthew on his incredible achievement!


Do you want to challenge yourself and reach out of your comfort zone? Contact us here or call 020

7079 1415 for information on upcoming events and how to get involved.


3rd Jul 2017

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