THE Great South Run is a 10-mile race that is a challenge in itself.
But for a team of 18 soldiers it will be that little bit tougher – they’re doing it carrying a telegraph pole.
The members of 10 Battery of Thorney Island’s 47 Regiment Royal Artillery think it’s a gimmick that will get them noticed as they want to raise as much money as possible for the Royal British Legion in October’s event.
And the training is already under way.
Sergeant Alex Varney said: ‘The plan is to do it in three teams of six or just get everyone to hold one long log.
‘The hard part about it is you can only go as fast as your slowest runner.
‘We’ve all done it before and know we can do five miles.
‘But we’re starting the training this week.
‘We don’t just want to turn up and do it, we want to do it well.
‘The guys are all fit now – we have to be – but we want to make sure we are in tip-top condition so we don’t make ourselves look silly in front of the public.’
For the team it was an easy choice about which charity to raise money for.
Sgt Varney said: ‘To be honest, the British Legion was the only charity that fitted us as military.
‘It helps out so many people in the forces.
‘They don’t only help veterans, they help serving members of the armed forces, for example, people with post-traumatic stress disorder.
‘I feel reassured to know that if I ever needed any help they would be there.
‘We chose to do the Great South Run because we’re obviously very busy ourselves and we needed an event that we knew we would all be able to do.’
Sgt Varney will be getting in some good training beforehand.
He said: ‘I’m also raising money and awareness for the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund, by running the Stansted Slog Half-Marathon on Sunday.
‘This is a Royal Artillery (Gunner) charity, and helps those who have served in the Royal Artillery in the UK and overseas – from the Second World War veterans to current-day serving soldiers.
‘The sponsorship money I have raised so far for this run has come from serving members of 47 Regiment Royal Artillery and their families.’
To sponsor the soldiers for the Great South Run go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/10AssayeBtyRA.
The Great South Run has been held in Southsea since 1991.
It is around the city, taking in sights including the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth Cathedral, Spinnaker Tower and HMS Victory.