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Not even the toughest endurance race need stop a double amputee

Duncan Slater is running the Marathon des Sables Credit: ITV News

Breakfast for Duncan Slater is a pretty meagre affair; in fact every meal out here in the searing heat of the Sahara is functional for the Marathon des Sables competitors.

After a daily marathon through the dunes you’d think the reward would be a plate piled with pasta, but Duncan like everyone else here is relying on super high calorie, light-weight ration packs, gels and the odd fruit pastel to keep him going.

He has to carry all his food for the entire week in his pack, as well as his sleeping gear, roll mat and anything else he needs to get himself through 252 km of hell. All that must weigh less than 15 kg.

There’s no space for spare clothes or any luxuries. It's essential kit only.

Duncan can only carry essential kit Credit: ITV News

He told me this morning he is most looking forward to roast pork on his return. But before he can even think of celebrating he has the toughest day still ahead of him.

Today is another punishing marathon length stage, but tomorrow he and the other 1200 men and women will be attempting the double stage of 86 km.

For Duncan, that means a full day and night walking up and down dunes and cliffs. He knows he can do it.

The Sahara is unforgiving territory Credit: ITV News

Last year he managed to complete this long haul, before being forced to pull-out due to intense rubbing on his stumps. He was told if he continued he risked losing more of his legs.

This time it is different. He is different. He has better fitting prosthetics and has stepped up his training and preparation to different league.

His body is not immune to the punishment though. His left knee is swollen and red.

But most importantly he feels better than he did at this point last year. It is providing him with the crucial mental strength to keep going. He knows he has it in him.

The marathon is a six-day, 252km long race Credit: ITV News

Today and tomorrow he will have to summon all his reserves of stamina to push through the pain and exhaustion.

If he can get through the double stage tomorrow, he will have one final marathon distance walk to complete on Friday, before finally he can say not even the toughest endurance race on earth need be a barrier to a double amputee.