With blisters and bandages the order of the day, team pride is the spur for Hong Kong runners competing in a desert race to raise money for hospice care. All five are still in the 240-kilometre race as participants complete possibly the most gruelling stage - an overnight trek of 76 kilometres. Mabel Au-Yeung Wai-man said all the runners managed well on the first day across a fairly flat mixture of rocks and sand. But the reality of the Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) soon sank in on the second day. 'We crossed all types of terrain - wadis, jebels, sand, stone and there was even a river crossing,' she said by e-mail from the Sahara in southern Morocco. 'I came in last of our team but I am still smiling.' Round-the-world helicopter pilot Jennifer Murray, who is flying over the race to make a documentary, said the first aid tent was doing good business. As well as blisters, many runners now sport plaster across their backs where their packs have rubbed. Apart from water and a tent, competitors must carry their food, clothing and supplies for the seven-day event. Day three was endless flat desert then up to a mountain pass. Inspector Mark Sharp took 30th place among the nearly 500 runners on the stage. Also competing to raise funds for the Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care are Senior Inspector Carol Cheng Mei-lin, former chief inspector Chris Hanselman and Inspector Justin Shave. Anyone wanting to contribute should make cheques payable to SPHC Ltd, marked 'Sahara Race for Hospice' on the back and send them to: 1832 Swire House, 11 Chater Road, Central.