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Anna prepares to tackle the ‘toughest footrace on Earth’

Tuesday 16 Jan 2018

A Myerscough University Centre PhD candidate is preparing to take part in the ‘toughest footrace on Earth’ to raise money for student charities.


Anna Harper is competing in the gruelling Marathon des Sables

Anna Harper is a PhD candidate at Myerscough in Agriculture and Countryside, having initially studied a Foundation Degree in Ecology & Conservation, earning a distinction, before moving onto BSc Honours Degree in Rural Resource Management, achieving a first.

In April Anna will compete in the Marathon des Sables, and attempt to run more than 250 kilometres over six days across the Sahara desert, over sand dunes, dry river beds and mountain ranges, all against the clock. She will face temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius, with a limited water supply and carrying her own food, cooking equipment and sleeping bag in a rucksack.

Anna has a target of raising £5,000 for charities and organisations that directly help Myerscough College students.

She said: ‘’I cannot wait to take on this epic challenge. Anyone who knows me will know that I love crazy running and I run whenever or wherever I get the chance.

‘’Myerscough College is a place that is full of such incredible, wonderful people and continually supports students to fulfil their goals, including supporting me to reach my dream of researching in the field of ecology. I will be raising money for the charities and groups that carry out incredible work to help students of the College.

 ‘’I know that it can be a difficult time for some people at college and university, being away from home and among new or strange people. Lots of students need a helping hand to get them through this time and help them achieve their potential. Myerscough has certainly helped me and I would not be studying for my PhD without help I had received along the way.

‘’Myerscough help students in many ways through various initiatives set up by their student welfare team. Therefore all of the money I raise will go to that team who will distribute any funds to charities and projects that help Myerscough students.’’

Anna is also the granddaughter of Frank Peregrine, who was the driving force behind the introduction of Higher Education courses, as well as the move to Myerscough’s current main campus at Bilsborrow. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in land-based education in the country. Frank passed away in 2005, and the College’s brand new Higher Education Centre, completed in 2007 and extended in 2010, was named in his memory.

Anna says: ‘’I’m so proud that I can say that Frank was my granddad. He is a legend and created a college with such a wonderful atmosphere, where everyone is given the encouragement they need to succeed to their full potential. The dedication of the staff is amazing and I can’t wait to raise money for the College.’’

You can keep up to date with Anna’s training and donate here:

If you would like more information about the Marathon des Sables then please visit their website at:

by Dave Salmon

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