Seven soldiers have begun their quest to complete seven marathon-length marches in seven days to raise money for a military charity.
The men from 29 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps based in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, are hiking for seven hours a day wearing full combat kit, each carrying a 30lb backpack. Their mission will see them pass through Birmingham on Thursday.
The comrades, who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, began the first leg of their challenge at the Duke of Gloucester barracks near Cirencester on Sunday. The team is aiming to raise £50,000 for the Army Benevolent Fund.
One of the marchers, Capt Alan Tindale said: “Last year four of us completed a fund-raiser of four marathons in 15 days and we had to beat that this year hence seven in seven. It is a pay back from us to the Army Benevolent Fund. The care and after care of soldiers is paramount.”
Joining Capt Tindale are Capt Dean Hammett, Capt Dave Groce, Staff Sergeant Geryn Jones, Sergeant Eric ‘Fletch’ Fletcher, Warrant Officer (First Class) Billy McLean, and Warrant Officer (Second Class) Dean Morgan. Civilians Phil McDermott of Worcester Medals and John Gracie of Gracie Framing are also on the mission.
The gruelling programme continues as follows with all marches beginning at 7am unless stated.
On Monday, the men will march from West Lulworth to Sandbanks, with a bucket collection in The Square, Bournemouth. On Tuesday the march will go from Burnham-On-Sea to Weston-Super-Mare along the coast path, with a bucket collection near the pier in Weston.
Wednesday's route is from Devizes along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Bath, before they march on Thursday from Selly Oak Military Hospital Wing to Bromsgrove via Birmingham City Centre. Captain Peter Norton GC – who was injured in Iraq and lost a leg – will start the march.
It is planned that members of the nursing staff will also be there to give the team a noisy send off.
On Friday the men march from South Cerney towards Fairford and a circuit back to South Cerney, before Saturday's finish with a circular route from South Cerney back to Cirencester.
On completing the marathon at Cirencester Rugby Club three members of the team will be taking part in a rugby match between Royal Logistics Corps Veterans and Cirencester RFC Veterans at midday at the Whiteway ground.
This is the opening match of the Annual Beer Festival.