Sailors combat stress by running up volcano

RELIEVED Lt Cdr Mike Thompson and Lt Cdr Richard Gobey after completing the volcano run
RELIEVED Lt Cdr Mike Thompson and Lt Cdr Richard Gobey after completing the volcano run
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TWO sailors ran six miles up the side of an active volcano to raise money for charity.

Lieutenant Commander Mike Thompson and Lieutenant Commander Richard Gobey completed the steep run up Mount Vesuvius in Naples, Italy, last Sunday.

The pair, who work at the Royal Navy’s headquarters at HMS Excellent, Whale Island, took just one hour and 14 minutes to complete the feat.

They have so far raised more than £700 for the charity Combat Stress, which supports members of the armed forces battling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

‘It was steep but not as painful as I thought it was going to be,’ said Lt Cdr Gobey, 31, a reservist currently working for the navy full-time to ready other reservists for tours of Afghanistan and other global deployments.

He added: ‘It was a bit chilly in the morning and towards the top of the hill. At one point there was frost on the ground and we were like “what’s all this white stuff?” before we started slipping over.

‘Other than that, it was pretty straightforward. The weather was good and we were really pleased with the time we did it in.’

Lt Thompson, 39, who is a regular sailor working in the navy’s manpower planning office at Whale Island, said: ‘I don’t think it was as bad as we thought it was going to be.

‘It was pretty good weather and the views were great but I don’t think I could do it again – I’m far too old for it.’

The pair decided to raise money for Combat Stress after serving together at UK headquarters in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, last year.

Lt Thompson said: ‘We would see all the helicopters coming in with casualties from the front line. It was relentless and humbling.

‘After a while we realised it was having an effect on our mental state. Talking to mates there, everyone was going through the same thing.

‘That’s why Rich and I decided we wanted to do something for Combat Stress.

‘You can see physical injuries but the effect things have on people’s minds often goes undetected and it can take years for mental problems to come to the surface.’

The runners thanked their sponsors after they smashed their original £400 target.

To donate, visit the link justgiving.com/Mike andRichs-VolcanicAdventure.