AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “This is going to be the most difficult event we’ve ever tried,” Pentis said. “We’ve trained for well over a year. But we want to have a positive impact on people’s lives. This is our way of doing it, through athletic events.” The Sahara Desert race is not a relay, so each runner must complete the entire course over four days and one night of running. It is particularly challenging because of the harsh desert conditions, the possibility of sandstorms with 40 mph winds and the threat of lethal snakes. “It’s quite an adventure,” Pentis said. “We run across sand dunes, we run across rocks. It’s remote, so we have to carry water on our backs, survival blankets and snake-bite kits. It’s a very tough environment.” Hagel, who rescues people trapped in remote parts of Ventura County as part of the sheriff’s air unit, called the race “the most physically challenging event I have ever taken on.” “It’s like several marathons back to back, out in the middle of the Sahara Desert in 80- to 90-degree heat,” he said. “We’re all physically fit, but we all know people afflicted by diseases, so we decided to challenge ourselves to raise money for charities that help people in our community, especially children.” The runners will camp out on the route in tents, with meals provided at stops along the way. The Ventura County team is supported by area individuals and businesses, including those who wrote checks directly to charity. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Association donated $1,000, and the Simi Valley Police Department gave $500. Pentis said the Ventura County group is the only law enforcement team from California among the 130 runners in the race, who come from around the world. “This is personal for me because my 19-year-old son is a Type 1 diabetic,” he said of the donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. “We want to have a positive impact on people’s lives.” Eric Leach, (805) 583-7602 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Five Ventura County sheriff’s deputies embark this week on a grueling adventure through the Sahara Desert that will include stifling heat, deadly snakes and 70 miles of running – all for charity. The group of marathon runners, which calls itself “Cops Running for Charity,” begins its trek Friday in Tunisia, competing against teams from around the world. The deputies have competed in other races, including the New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., marathons, and have helped raise thousands of dollars to help fight Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and diabetes. This time they will donate funds to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The team is Capt. Randy Pentis of the department’s Santa Clara Valley station, and sergeants Frank Underlin of the Thousand Oaks station, Dave Kenney from the Camarillo station, Paul Higgason from the sheriff’s academy and Tim Hagel of the department’s air unit.