Army trio face North Run test

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As if the Great North Run wasn’t tough enough, three army corporals from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate are doing it in full military kit, weighing 135 pounds or 63 kilos.

Corporals Michael Barkley, Sophie Fitzwarren and Mark Jackson are running in boots and combats carrying weights, totalling more than 20 kilos for each corporal but will not include live ammunition.

Corporal Barkley said: “We’ll be carrying weights to emulate ammunition. Corporal Fitzwarren is a medic, so part of what she’s carrying will be her medical kit. Corporal Jackson and I will be carrying an average army kit.”

The trio are running to raise money for Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Bradbury Wing, which is a specialist care facility in Newcastle for adults with physical disabilities.

The section commanders at the Army Foundation College, also want to raise awareness of disability when they join everyone else taking on the world’s biggest half marathon on Sunday September 11.

This isn’t the first time Corporal Barkley, who’s been in the army for ten years, has fundraised by running in his military kit.

He said: “I first fundraised for Leonard Cheshire Disability in 2013 when I ran the Great South Run in full kit. It was harder than I expected. I knew I had an injury, but I only found out afterwards that I’d run it all with a broken ankle.”

Corporal Barkley ran the Great South Run in just 1 hour and 42 minutes but as he’s running with fellow corporals this time, the priority is sticking together.

“The three of us run at different levels and I’m almost a foot taller than Corporal Fitzwarren! We’re aiming to get this finished in two-and-a-half to three hours.”

Corporal Barkley also explained why they are fundraising for Bradbury Wing: “My auntie [Eni Plenderleith] is the service manager there and she’s an inspiration to me. She’ll do everything for everybody.

“I visit Bradbury Wing whenever I can and there’s always an occasion and a party. These events bring smiles to the faces of the people that live there. More funds will mean more activities and that will make a big difference.”

Make a donation at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Britisharmedforces