A Thames Ditton mum will run two marathons in the Sahara Desert in memory of her close friend.

Sophie Rees of Thames Ditton is an avid runner and aims to raise money for the Breast Cancer Now and the Princess Alice Hospice, based in Esher, who cared for her late friend Charlotte Coleman-Smith before she passed away last October.

For the fundraising, Mrs Rees will face the punishing temperatures and vast spaces of the Sahara in Morocco's Draa Valley — the setting for the Ultra Sahara Challenge.

The challenge pits around 250 competitors including Mrs Rees against the extreme environments of the world's largest desert across two marathons in two days.

"I’ll make doubly sure I shake out my running shoes in the mornings!" Mrs Rees said, joking about the prevalence of scorpions and other worrisome fauna in the desert.

The Thames Ditton mum aims to raise £10,000 for her chosen causes, and is currently training with the support of her husband Huw and their 12-year-old son George.

"They’ve got used to my schedule taking over sometimes — with my training runs fitting in around home life and work,” she said.

"George joins me on some of the shorter runs — while Huw is in charge of the logistics," she added.

Mrs Rees's friendship with Charlotte was forged on the school run and social events surrounding their children and families.

Charlotte’s three sons Joseph, Patrick and Charlie and husband James have also been raising funds for the Esher hospice.

James said: "We’re in awe of Sophie’s monumental efforts to raise funds in such a challenging way.

"We’re also deeply touched that she is doing it all in memory of dear Charlotte."

The Ultra Sahara Challenge will take place between Thursday, October 10 and Monday, October 14.

To sponsor Sophie visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SophieRees4