Soldier takes on marathon task

RUNNING the marathon this weekend will be a challenge for everyone involved but spare a thought for the soldier who will be running in the blazing heat of Afghanistan.

RUNNING the marathon this weekend will be a challenge for everyone involved but spare a thought for the soldier who will be running in the blazing heat of Afghanistan.

Major Al Jarvis, 33, of the Royal Engineers, will be running this Sunday in circuits around the military base at Lashkar Gah.

Major Jarvis arrived in Afghanistan from Farnborough last month for a six month tour with 23 Engineer Regiment, part of the UK's 16 Air Assault Brigade. Undeterred by the heat and dust, and the tiny size of the base, Maj Jarvis decided to run the equivalent of the London marathon this Sunday to raise money for the Army Benevolent Fund.

The British Para and Commando-trained soldier will run 38 laps of the base to cover the 26 mile distance, wearing his Osprey body armour. To avoid the intense heat of the day he will start at 5am local time, just after midnight in the UK. He aims to complete the course in 5-6 hours and will be carrying kit weighing approx 12 kg, in temperatures that could reach 30°C.


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Maj Jarvis said: “The London marathon is a feature in the calendar and just because I'm deployed in Afghanistan I don't believe that should stop me taking part in my own way. It will be tough keeping motivated and focused doing so many laps of the same circuit, but I'm up for the challenge.

Troops on the base are lending their support, organising collection tins and giving encouragement to keep up his morale on the repetitive route.

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Maj Jarvis said: “No amount of money can bring back a daddy, husband, daughter or a limb, but the Army Benevolent Fund helps to give some financial stability to families in times of distress.

“This is not a race against time. I just hope I will be able to finish. The most laps I have done so far in my sports kit is five but there is only one way to find out”

Major Jarvis has set up a Just Giving page. Visit www.justgiving.com/bodyarmourmarathon to make a donation.

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