A father and son are challenging themselves to take on a marathon in the Sahara desert.

John Laws and his 17-year-old son Marcus, of Haltwhistle, are to fly out to Africa in March to compete in the Marathon Des Sables, a 250km foot race over six days.

John, 52, a sales director for a biometrics security company, first saw the competion on the Discovery Channel after recoverying from a knee surgery.

He said: "When I saw it on TV I thought that it would be a good goal to train for after I recovered from my knee surgery.

"I competed in the race in 2007 but only manged to reach day four of the race and had to pull out due to an injury."

Since then, John has been 'itching to get back' and now he has the chance with his son by his side.

"For years I have always mentioned and expressed interest to go back to the competition and complete it," John said.

"I feel like I have unfinished business and I need to make sure I cross the finish line.

"Marcus has always said he would do it with me and we believe now is the right time for him to compete with me in between his A-Levels.

"I believe in him and he is fit and healthy but most importantly stable minded.

"He is also a good runner and ran for his school and is in his running club 'Tynedale Harriers'.

"I have put no pressure on him to do this with me but seems equally excited as I am to do it. It is hard but it is not impossible to do.

"We are not bothered about winning or our time - we just want to finish it."

John started training in January and says him and his son have caused a local interested in what they are doing - which they stop and explain to residents when asked.

"We have been stopped by a lot of residents in Haltwhistle to ask what they are training for, " John said.

"I suppose it is hard to miss us with our large bags on our backs which we use to prepare us for what we need to carry in the desert.

"We have to prepare carrying a lot of weight as we have a kit list which we need to carry including 3,000 calories of dehydrated food, an anti-venom pump, cooker, mat, jackets and socks.

"When we tell people they are suprised but very supportive to us which is great and very encouraging."

The pair have also attracted local businesses' attention to sponsor them and the charities they are raising money for.

"We are so grateful to Savage Silk Solicitors Harris, 21 Accountants and RH Irving Industrial Ltd ," John said.

"We are overwhelmed by their support, funding and help throughout the training."

"The three charities are Dogs Trust, Brysons Animal Shelter and Young Minds Mental health.

"These charities were chosen by myself and Marcus with the input of some good friends who have massively supported us in this adventure."

To support the pair, visit https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/john-laws-1?fbclid=IwAR1h3m4EoeI5TofGf0DYyVorNdZAxcV_te1JAJaKjxH0NlcJDVlGNsGSUY4