Joe Mountain, 49, co-founder of SandyBlue, the Golden Triangles leading Villa Rental Specialist, who has lived in the Algarve, Portugal since 2008 will be competing in the Marathon Des Sables at the end of this month in memory of his parents.

Joe explained that he lost his parents to brain cancer and step-mum to MSA and that they died far too young, which happened in the last 10 years. He also explained that he is turning 50 in May so “I decided at the start of the pandemic, following my mum passing away that I wanted to set myself a mid-life goal that would hopefully keep me healthy physically and mentally during difficult times through Covid-19”


“The thing that is really important to me is inspiring and encouraging other people. If people see this and it gives them a bit of inspiration to get out and be active for their physical and mental health then that is great and that is a big motivation for me just.”

Marathon Des Sables is regarded as the toughest foot race on Earth, held yearly in Morocco in the Sahara Desert. This race is equivalent to six marathons, covering a stretch of 250km over six days, if that is not hard enough, Joe will be dealing with extreme levels of heat and it is a self-sufficient race so he will be carrying a lot of kit including his own food; 4kg worth to last him seven days as well as clothing, sleeping bag and key supplies such as an anti-venom pump, distress flare and a GPS locator.

Joe is no stranger to this marathon, having run this marathon twice before in 2007 and in 2010 where he came 180th out of 1,200 people, describing it as “an amazing place and brutal and beautiful in equal measures.” He completed both races but admitted “I am not anticipating doing as well this time but it will be a big achievement if I finish it.”


In preparation for this race Joe has been training for the last two years, more recently completely 28km training runs three times a week through Quinta do Lago to Faro Island and back along the beach to Vale do Lobo.

Joe also told me that he has “been very fortunate to have such a supporting family throughout all of the extra training, giving a special mention to his wife and his three daughters aged 22, 21 and 18 for all their support.” Additionally, Joe thanked his local support team who have “helped him prepare for this challenge.” “Marco Rijo - Personal trainer at The Conrad (twice weekly training sessions), Jose Escudeiro - Physio at Home (holding my body together), Liliana at Asthetica (agonising sports massages) and Rita Arroja whose Pilates classes over the last two years have helped. As well as, his favourite restaurant BJs Oceanside “where Bex and J have been making sure I eat great recovery food!” Further adding that, “I would also like to thank all the support I have had from the SandyBlue team and all our owners and clients”.

If you would like to support Joe on this great challenge, please donate to in which he is fundraising for Farleigh Hospice due to the care they gave his Mum in her last days. For more information about the Marathon please visit


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes