Running4Nabs tackles the Sahara desert

Mandrake CEO Stéfan Danis and a group of nine others are heading to the Egyptian desert with a goal of raising $100,000 for the ad industry charity.

Stéfan Danis, CEO of Toronto-based Mandrake Management Consultants, has assembled a team of 10 Canadian media executives to participate in Running4NABS, a gruelling seven-day endurance run this October to raise funds and awareness for the National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS).

The charitable society assists professionals in the communication industry experiencing financial trouble due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness or unemployment. Danis and his team, all experienced runners and notable industry executives, plan to raise $100,000 for the cause through the event, which will take place in the Sahara Desert, hosted by RacingThePlanet, an organization that plans four desert runs internationally each year, in China, Chile, Egypt and Antarctica.

The challenge will force the participants to run a marathon per day for six full days, with one day of rest, while carrying fully-stocked packs of provisions. Temperatures are expected to rise in excess of 40°C.

Running4NABS team member and long-time NABS board member Sandy Johnson, VP at NEXCareer, says she expects to be able to complete the harrowing experience in full.

‘I have to enter into it with that good attitude,’ says Johnson, who has previously run six marathons, but never a multi-day challenge such as this one.

This will be Danis’s third time completing such a challenge, having previously participated in the Gobi March in China and the Atacama Crossing in Chile, both of which were fundraising missions for NABS. If Danis successfully finishes the Sahara Race, he will be poised to complete the 4Desert challenge, which ends with a trek through the Antarctic tundra.

Danis has raised $58,000 so far and in 2010, won the Atacama Crossing challenge for teams, which requires all members to be within 200 meters of each other at all times. The experience was chronicled through daily blog posts on strategy.

The team this year will be much larger than the three-member group Danis compiled for Atacama, so the 10 runners will not sign up officially as a team, but rather will give each other individual support throughout the process.

Participating for Team NABS along with Danis and Johnson will be Alison Simpson, EVP at Maritz; Anne-Marie Tseretopoulos, human resources director at Draftfcb; Paulo da Silva, partner at Big Life Group; David Gibb, EVP managing director at J. Walter Thompson; Gavin Lucas, associate director video and feeds development at Bell Canada; Colin Nanka, strategic account executive at; Mariska Kempers, digital media manager at Bell Business Solutions; and Pat Sullivan, VP and GM at ComFree.

More information on the initiative will be revealed at the NABS charity gala on Tuesday, May 17, as well as news on other upcoming fundraising events from the organization.