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Travel Inspiration Spencer Matthews Great Desert Challenge: 30 Marathons in 30 Days

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Spencer Matthews Great Desert Challenge: 30 Marathons in 30 Days

Broadcaster, entrepreneur and TV personality Spencer Matthews is undertaking the challenge of a lifetime this summer as he attempts to run 30 marathons in 30 days through the Jordanian desert to raise money for Global’s Make Some Noise. If successful, the challenge will earn him a Guiness World Record for the most consecutive marathons run on sand.

At Kandoo Adventures we specialise in trekking holidays to iconic destinations and Jordan is one of them. In this blog, we’ll share everything we know about the challenge so far.

Natural rock bridge in the desert

About Spencer Matthews

Who is Spencer Matthews?

Spencer Matthews, aged 35, found fame following the launch of reality TV show, Made in Chelsea and is now a TV personality, the founder of CleanCo non-alcoholic spirits and is married to Irish TV personality and model Vogue Matthews, with whom he has 3 children.

Spencer was raised on the family estates of Caunton Manor, a 30-acre estate in Nottinghamshire and Eden Rock in Saint Barthélemy and studied at Eton. He is one of three brothers: Michael Spencer whose disappearance on Everest was documented in the Disney+ documentary Finding Michael (2023) and James Matthews who was a racing car driver and is married to Pippa Middleton, younger sister of Catherine, Princess of Wales. Spencer also has an older half-sister, Nina.

Previous Achievements

  • In 2021, Spencer completed the Marathon des Sables, a gruelling six-day ultra marathon running over 250kms (156 miles) in the Sahara Desert.
  • In 2022, Spencer travelled to Nepal in search of his brother’s body 23 years after his record climb and consequent disappearance on Everest. Spencer’s journey was recorded in the documentary Finding Michael (2023) which you can read more about in our blog on Finding Michael Matthews.
  • In 2023, Spencer completed a 230km self-sufficient ultra marathon through the Amazon Rainforest that less than 60 people have ever completed.
  • This year, a new hurdle awaits as Spencer will embark on a challenge that has never been done before. On 29th July, Spencer will be attempting the Great Desert Challenge to set a world record running 30 marathons in 30 days (or 786 miles) across the Jordanian desert.

The Great Desert Challenge

Trekking in Jordan
Starting in Wadi Rum in Jordan and taking place from 29th July to 27th August, Spencer announced The Great Desert Challenge on Heart Breakfast with Jamie and Amanda back in April.

Spencer is aiming to set a world record running 30 marathons in 30 days across the desert while fundraising for Global’s Make Some Noise, a national charity that works with small charities to change lives across the UK including food banks, mental health and domestic helplines, carer support, community projects and employment programmes.

With soaring temperatures exceeding over 40 degrees Celsius in places, Spencer will run the equivalent of 5 x The Marathon Des Sables covering 786 miles (1,266km) in total. And oh yeh, he’ll be running the whole distance completely on sand!

As this is an official Guiness World Record attempt for “the most consecutive marathons run on sand”, there are a number of rules that Spencer must follow to be successful. A dedicated adjudicator will be present during every marathon and will monitor Spencer’s progress in order for it to register as a successful Guiness World Record.

Firstly, the whole attempt must be made on sand or the marathon for that day becomes void, delegitimising Spencer’s efforts to complete 30 marathons in 30 consecutive days. He will not be able to cross roads, grass, rivers or other terrain during the 30 marathons, making the challenge a logistical, as well as physical and mental feat.

In line with the rules, Spencer may also choose to run barefoot or with shoes and may alternate throughout the attempt and all marathons must be finished within 6 hours to be eligible for the world record title.

You can follow Spencer’s daily updates via: and his Instagram and YouTube channels.

Training for The Great Desert Challenge

In order to prepare for The Great Desert Challenge, Spencer is undertaking a gruelling training regime running more than 1,118 miles (1,800km) and acclimatising his body using sweat testing and training for up to 15 consecutive days in a lab-controlled heat chamber set to 40 degrees Celsius and 40% humidity, in an effort to mimic the conditions of the Jordanian desert.

Spencer has recently completed a ‘recce’ trip to Jordan to map the 786 mile (1,266km) route making up the 30 marathons, tracking the route using support vehicles, checking each path was in fact sand and creating the GPX files the team will need come July. During his recent trip to Jordan, Spencer was also able to complete some training runs in the exact environment he’ll be facing during the challenge. The climate and terrain are very unforgiving, and the route faces a lot of soft beach-like sand, rolling dunes and plenty of elevation and Spencer’s whole strategy has had to shift.

Taking to Instagram, Spencer said: “The first day was pretty humbling… As we drove the route for the very first marathon I was quite taken aback. The sand was considerably softer than I had hoped it would be, it was hilly and the heat was overwhelming at 44 degrees Celsius with no breeze. My mind wondered whether or not this was actually achievable. I was uncomfortable”.

Kandoo Adventures

Deir Monastery at Petra in Jordan
You don’t need to be an ultra marathon runner to experience the fascinating wonders of Jordan. At Kandoo Adventures we specialise in trekking holidays and Jordan is one of our warmer destinations. We operate a range of awesome trekking trips here, allowing adventure enthusiasts the opportunity to experience all the intriguing parts of Jordan at a steady pace. Highlights of visiting this fascinating country include exploring the roman ruins of Amman, taking in the wonders of Petra and treks across the vast Wadi Rum desert.

Trekking through the Jordanian desert may seem a little daunting, especially if you haven’t done anything like it before, but with Kandoo Adventures you’re in good hands and the experience is truly one like no other. Explore hidden desert gorges, waterfalls and fascinating rock formations in the Rainbow Valley, sleep in the desert under starlit skies and take a dip in the Dead Sea, Jordan is a country rich in adventure. For a memorable experience somewhere new, check out our Jordan tours and experience landscapes like nowhere else. What are you waiting for?