A FITNESS fanatic from West Moors is taking on her greatest physical challenge yet this month when she competes in the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon in South Africa.

Annie Dougall, a billing manager with Sembcorp Bournemouth Water, is among a seven-strong Sembcorp global team taking part in the 155-mile test of endurance to raise money for WaterAid and the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation.

The seven-day run, across the Northern Cape close to the South African border with Namibia, begins on October 27 and comprises an energy-sapping combination of desert and mountainous terrain.

The 40 contestants carry a backpack weighing about 12 kilograms, consisting of a daily water supply, food, clothing and safety equipment.

Ms Dougall will run between 16 and 48 miles each day in temperatures reaching 45C and sleep under canvas in temperatures close to zero. She said: "I love distance events and particularly team events but the Kalahari is going to be the challenge of a lifetime. I'm really excited about it, and about making new friends along the way, but it's going to be a tough one."

SBW's managing director Roger Harrington added: "This is a fantastic thing for Annie to do and one which will be really challenging.

"Through her efforts she will help us raise money for two very deserving charities. The John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation is local and was established to help young people in pursuit of their ambitions.

“WaterAid, of course, is very close to our hearts in the water industry as it provides safe water and sanitation to people in developing countries. Services which we take for granted."

A seasoned long distance runner, Ms Dougall already has 18 marathons and ten ultra distance races under her belt together with a number of Three Peak and Six Peak challenges.

As part of her preparation for the Kalahari Extreme Marathon she has completed four marathons this year.

Each year, between 15 and 20 per cent of competitors don't finish the Kalahari event, due to heat stroke, dehydration, blisters and sickness.

Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/sembcorpbournemouthwater to sponsor Ms Dougall.