Return of the Kalahari "Magnificent Seven."

By Sembcorp PR Department
02 November 2012
Sembcorp Bournemouth Water
Sembcorp Protection
Sembcorp Utilities UK


Footsore and weary but ultimately triumphant – here is the first picture of Sembcorp’s “Magnificent Seven” Kalahari heroes shortly after completing their epic desert race adventure.

The team showed “True Grit” and determination to finish the arduous Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon after 245Km (152-miles) of energy-sapping hell over seven days in South Africa.

First home of the Sembcorp runners was Chris Plews (far right) who took a total of just under 37 hours to cross the unforgiving terrain in temperatures touching 50 degrees Celsius at times.

The ‘killer’ combination of rocky outcrops and deep sands proved too much for seven of the original 45 starters who were forced to pull out of the race after the first few days.

But the Sembcorp team dug deep into their reserves of energy and courage, inspired and motivated each other and powered on to see the event through.  

The race was dominated start to finish by three near-superhuman South African runners, the first of whom completed the race in around 24 hours.

However, undeterred by the fact that the South Africans were head and shoulders above the rest, Chris ran on, fending off strong challenges from the chasing pack to complete the race in fourth position.

Meanwhile, Ian Glover, who had struggled with blisters requiring repeated DIY ‘surgery’ using a needle and thread, finished a respectable 21st position in a time of just less than 46 hours.

Sembcorp's other UK competitor, Annie Dougall, of Sembcorp Bournemouth Water, deserves massive respect too, finishing fifth among the women taking part in the race and 28th overall in a time of just over 49 hours.

Said Chris: “It was exactly as we had imagined it would be – sheer tortuous hell in parts. But it really was the experience of a lifetime in a landscape and scenery that was simply breath-taking at times. We pulled together and for every one of the Sembcorp team to finish was a fantastic achievement of which we can all be proud.”

The Teesside duo aim to raise £20,000 for two local hospices – Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice in Normanby, Middlesbrough and the Butterwick Hospice in Stockton. Annie Dougall is raising money for WaterAid and the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation.

Final totals are not yet in and people can continue to donate to the Teesside charities until November 12th via a special JustGiving page accessible from the homepage of the Sembcorp website www.sembcorp.co.uk

Ian, 50, is due back in the UK this week and Chris, 40, next week but the plaudits are already coming in from customers and others who sponsored them.

Dr Douglas Annan, Senior Vice President and Site Director of Sembcorp Utilities UK, said: “Our entire workforce is in awe of every single one of the Sembcorp competitors that took part, but particularly Chris and Ian who have shown complete dedication, grit and determination over many months of training and preparation to achieve their goal and raise monies that will make a big difference to the lives of many families across Teesside.”

The picture shows the triumphant Sembcorp team at the finish line. Left to right Tan Kian Hwee, Steven Lee, Annie Dougall, Ciu Shinnan, Pamela Liu, Ian Glover and Chris Plews.

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