Wayne Bridge inspired to take on gruelling 156-mile desert marathon by SAS win

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Wayne Bridge and wife Frankie (Ian West/PA)

Footballer Wayne Bridge has said his experiences on SAS: Who Dares Wins have inspired him to run a 156-mile ultra-marathon in the Sahara desert.

The retired English footballer, 38, was crowned winner of the Channel 4 show which saw 12 celebrities undertake an intensive seven-day course in aid of charity Stand Up To Cancer.

The former England, Chelsea and Manchester City left back told the Press Association he had signed up to the Marathon des Sables, a six-day run held annually in southern Morocco.

Pride Of Britain Awards 2018 – London
Wayne and Frankie Bridge in 2018 (Steve Parsons/PA)

The challenge, held in April, is often described as the the toughest foot race on the planet.

He will be raising money for Walking With The Wounded, a charity helping injured British former armed forces servicemen and women adapt to civilian life.

The former I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! contestant said: “I always knew I was mentally strong but this has made me even stronger.

“I’m sure everyone knew I was an emotional person from my experience in the jungle so I don’t think that comes as any surprise.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes charity race
Sir Ranulph Fiennes takes on the Marathon des Sables (Marie Curie/Liz Scarff/PA)

“As I mentioned before, it’s given me that greater self-belief to go ahead and tackle any challenge.

“I’ve signed myself up to run the Marathon des Sables next year, which is said to be the hardest foot race in the world – all in aid of Walking With The Wounded.

“I think my experience from the show is one of the main reasons I’ve signed myself up to something as challenging as this and hopefully it’s just the first of many.”

Bridge has been married to 30-year-old Frankie of girl group The Saturdays since 2014 and the couple have two sons, Parker, five, and Carter, three.

He said he had an “emotional” phone call with his wife after being crowned winner following a gruelling episode which saw the stars undergo an interrogation and a Chilean mountain trek.

“Frankie was so happy and proud about what I had achieved,” he said.

“It took me a while to tell her I had won when I first called her as we were both quite emotional at first.

“I don’t think the boys are quite old enough to understand the extent of what I’ve done just yet but it will be something great to show and tell them I’ve done as they get older.”

He also said appearing on the show had given him a “greater respect for the resilience of the men and women who serve us”.

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