07:00 hrs ,as the military call it, is an early morning start at St Dunstan’s in Sheffield, this morning Im covering the beginning of a fund raising challenge 10 squaddies 10-marathons 5 days. Ten soldiers, (or Squaddies) from 39 Engineer Regiment Cambridge, and their support team. The team totalling around 14 are undertaking 10 Squaddies, 10 Marathons, 5 Days challenge to raise funds for the only charity to provide direct support, rehabilitation and training to service personnel and veterans blinded in conflict.
If the challenge of 10 Marathons in 5 days wasn’t “hardcore” enough for these members of the British Army, “just to make it a little more interesting” they will be also carrying 40lb Bergen’s and wearing combat boots” on a gruelling test of endurance. Thirty-four year old Staff Sergeant Jim Offord (the man behind the fund raiser) and nine fellow soldiers will complete a marathon every six hours, day and night, followed by six hours recovery time as they tab from St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training centre in Sheffield on the 1st of November to finish at St Dunstan’s centre near Brighton in East Sussex on the 5th of November.
“I created the 10 Soldiers, 10 Marathons in 5 Days to support St Dunstan’s as we want to give something back to a charity that helps fellow soldiers. I threw in the idea of wearing our Bergen’s filled to weigh 40lbs, plus combat boots to keep it interesting and opted to do 10 Marathons in 5 Days as I couldn’t find a record that it had been done before. Said Jim.
The original aim of the this mammoth effort was to raise £4,800 for St Dunstan’s but that target has already been smashed and the Engineers have reached £10,000 more than double their initial figure.
Staff Sgt Jim Offord, (front) and team members from 39 Engineer Regiment , Lance Corporal Dean Howard, Corporal Dave Little, Sapper Darren Pallatina, Lance Corporal Rich Holmes, Corporal Mark Cammock, Sapper Garry Scott, Lance Corporal Dave Hopkins, SSgt Darren King, Sapper James Payze, Captain Jo Miles, Sgt Steve Bedford and, Lance Corporal Lee Melia with support team members Ami Offord paramedic and Arlene Howard sports physio. Who will be working to complete the 10 Squaddies, 10 Marathons, 5 Days Challenge carrying 40lb Bergens. The team aimed to raise £4800 for St Dunstan’s Charity for blind ex-Service men and women but the figure now stands £10,000 raised…1 November 2010 .Images © Paul David Drabble
Rough Guide to the route……..
Monday 1 November The team left St Dunstan’s Sheffield around 8am aiming to arrive at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, near Nottingham at 4pm. From there they will head for Loughbourgh University arriving on Tuesday 2 November. The second day sees the group tab to Nuneaton via Leicester before heading for Staverton Park Hotel Daventry where they will arrive on Wednesday 3 November. They will leave Staverton Park Hotel heading for Milton Keynes TA Centre and from there to Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Which they will reach on Thursday 4 November They will leave Sportspace at 12 noon and march into London along the Edgware Road at 2.30pm on Thursday 4 November to visit St Dunstan’s HQ in Marylebone, where they will be greeted by soldiers the charity works with, ex-Service men and women, staff and supporters. They will leave St Dunstan’s HQ at 8pm to tab to the TA Centre, Northgate, Crawley arriving on Friday 5 November. The team start at 8am to tab the final marathon, through Brighton, arriving at St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training Centre, Greenaways, Ovingdean, east Sussex. Where they will cross the finish line to massive cheers from the soldiers the charity works with, staff and supporters and the people who have followed them through the streets of Brighton.