Two soldiers will take on a gruelling multi-stage desert marathon in aid of a charity that funds research into spinal injuries.
Capt Alex Smith and Lt Charlie Monk, of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment based at Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore, will attempt the Marathon des Sables in April next year.
Known as the toughest footrace on earth, the event is held in the Sahara desert. Competitors carry what they need to survive and try to cover more than 150 miles in temperatures of more than 50C.
The soldiers, who went through school, university and military training together, hope to raise £14,000 for Walkoncemore. The charity funds research into spinal cord injury.
Capt Smith said: “I was after a new challenge when I got back from Afghanistan and an event like the Marathon des Sables just seemed like a great goal. After some research, I got in touch with Walkoncemore who were really keen to sponsor our places and we are very humbled to be representing and running for such a fantastic charity.”
Lt Monk added: “I was still deployed in Afghanistan when Alex first broached the subject of the marathon. We were talking on the phone and he suggested it as ‘something to do’ when we got back.
“Initially I was sceptical - could we get places? Could we train enough in time? But following some research, and a few chats with previous runners, I threw caution to the wind and agreed to it.”
Both soldiers have served with the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment for three years since their commissioning from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2011. During that time they have served in Cyprus, Kenya and most recently Afghanistan. Capt Smith is currently the second in command of a company and will be taking over the Anti-Tank Platoon in 2015. Lt Monk will take over the Recce Platoon in 2015.
To sponsor them visit www.justgiving.com/Alex-Smith-MdS15.