Soldier and celebrity join forces
A SUPER-FIT soldier has completed a gruelling 150-mile trek across an African desert with television celebrity Jack Osbourne in tow. Lieutenant Tom Freedman, of North Road, Lympsham, made the exhausting journey in 120 degree heat to raise thousands of pou
A SUPER-FIT soldier has completed a gruelling 150-mile trek across an African desert with television celebrity Jack Osbourne in tow.Lieutenant Tom Freedman, of North Road, Lympsham, made the exhausting journey in 120 degree heat to raise thousands of pounds for charity.He was accompanied for part of the way by Jack Osbourne, son of legendary hell-raising rock star Ozzy, as part of a television programme called Adrenalin Junkie. The 24-year-old and his three friends shared their tent with Jack until the race took its toll on the celebrity and he was forced to drop out. Tom, who serves with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Green Jackets in Wiltshire, spent seven days slogging across the desert in Morocco as part of the infamous Marathon de Sables.The soldier was one of more than 700 competitors who lined up to jog and hike almost a marathon every day for a week across the rolling desert sands.Apart from his usual daily army training, Tom said he prepared for the race by completing a 54-mile double marathon in the UK and a week's acclimatisation training in the tropical Ascension Islands.Once in the desert, competitors started running in the early morning and had to drink about 10 litres of water a day to replace lost body fluids sweated out in the heat.By the end of the second day one competitor was in a coma, another suffered a heart attack and a third had a stroke.Tom came a creditable 310th out of a total of 731 runners. Along with three friends, he raised thousands of pounds for the charity the Riflemen's Aid Society.He said: "It was the experience of a lifetime as the Marathon de Sable is something I have always wanted to do."Jack Osbourne was a really nice guy and not at all cocky."You imagine the desert to be flat but it isn't. Running up the enormous sand dunes was similar to running the wrong way up an escalator."I picked up some very bad blisters on my right heel and by the end was running almost on my bone. The doctors had to dose me up with some powerful painkillers to carry on. It was just adrenalin, my army training and plain stubbornness that kept me going."Crossing the line was great but almost an anticlimax as we were all immediately put in a coach for a six-hour journey back to the hotel. But once we were there, we all had a fantastic time."My next plan is having done the hottest race of all, is do the coldest, a 100-mile race in Yukon, Canada.