A race dubbed the ‘toughest race on earth’ has not beaten a local woman.

Fiona Oakes, 43, who runs Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary in Asheldham, returned from the Sahara desert last Sunday.

She ran the Marathon de Sables, a six day, 251 km, ultramarathon, the equivalent of six regular marathons.

She was the fastest woman in the last two stages of the race and ran the marathon stage in five hours, to come in first woman home.

She said: ”Running in 50 degree heat, carrying a quarter of your bodyweight on your back in food, water and supplies, is very hard.

“It’s physically and mentally very tough but I ran a good race and I’m very proud of what I did.”