This time next year, Olivier Lacoua should be enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

All going well he would have completed the world's toughest footrace, according to Discovery Channel, the Marathon des Sables.

The 250km self-sufficient multi stage race over six days goes through the Sahara desert where daytime temperatures can skyrocket to about 50 degrees and night times drop to a bone-chilling three degrees.

Olivier was excited about the desert challenge, which he knows will be very difficult.


"I've got great support from people around me," he said, especially his wife Samantha and their two daughters Ophelie and Gena-Lee.

"It will be a whole new experience as well as pushing the boundaries.

"It's just a question of managing everything from the heat, running on sand, to nutrition.

"It's new project on top of my goal of 100 marathons by 2020."

KEEP GOING: Olivier Lacoua during the Great Forest Events marathon at Waitarere Beach. He ran a personal best time of 3h 26m 15s.
KEEP GOING: Olivier Lacoua during the Great Forest Events marathon at Waitarere Beach. He ran a personal best time of 3h 26m 15s.

So far Olivier has completed 65 marathons, since 2008, and his 100th will be the Marathon de Paris, in April 2020, which is fitting because he is from the city of Tours, in the centre west of France.

His 100 marathons running goal morphed from a simple goal to run a marathon.

His first was the Christchurch Marathon which he ran in 3h 52m exceeding his expectations.

"I was very surprised my body could maintain the endurance."

A few marathons later the long-term goal of running 100 marathons was locked in, especially with a charity focus.

Choosing Red Cross was easy as the charity came to his aid when a pot of hot chocolate milk was accidently spilt on him, causing burns to his arms and legs when he was an 18-year-old on a two-week school exchange trip in Spain.

The 45-year-old from Paraparaumu Beach, who is general manager of CQ Hotels Wellington, has fundraised over $11,000 so far and has a target of $26,200.

"I made that my target because 26.2 is the miles for a marathon."

He hopes to raise an extra $10,000 for his Marathon des Sables race alone.

"Hopefully I can fundraise $42,200 as 42.2 is the kilometres for a marathon."

Olivier said running 100 marathons was a "crazy goal" initially.

"But I've been running more and more marathons every year, and I thought 'let's go to the next level' and I started to do some ultra marathons too.

"Last year I did the Tarawera Ultramarathon, in Rotorua, which was 100km, and next month I'm flying to Sydney to do the Ultra-Trail Australia, which is also 100km, and next year is the Marathon des Sables."

Meanwhile, at CQ Hotels Wellington, which used to be owned by the Salvation Army and called the People's Palace, he's very active in maintaining the community spirit focus, because of the relationship with the Salvation Army.

The hotel gives regular donations to charities and is passionate about helping people with disabilities.

"One of our core values is to make sure there's a place for everyone."

Olivier also volunteers for Achilles International New Zealand and acts as a guide for disabled runners keen to train for an event or simply the opportunity to run.

The hotel has just given a donation to Achilles to help Maree Carson, a vision impaired athlete from Wellington, participate in the New York Marathon this year.

Before joining the hotel, Olivier was involved in a lot of charity work with the Accor company.

"It's not really about the dollar value but about the spirit of helping other people."