FOUR Mansfield police officers will pound their toughest-ever beat by running coast-to-coast across the country for charity.
Sgt James Oliver and Pcs Aidy Bailey, Ben Ian and Ian Wright will cover 192 miles in six days in aid of Help for Heroes and the Amazon Breast Cancer Support Group.
All of the team will cover around 32 miles a day to complete the feat; equivalent to six ‘ultra’ marathons.
Their inspiration for the epic challenge includes a colleague recovering from cancer after a 12-month fight.
Said Sgt Oliver, also inspired by his soldier brother David (29): “We just wanted to do something different. It’s something the lads won’t forget and it will really test them. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The group have been training since January and will finally kick off the challenge on Sunday (11th September) from St Bees, Cumbria.
They are due to finish a week later on 17th September at Robin Hoods Bay, North Yorkshire, greeted by a crowd of family and friends.
Pc Bailey (34), the only team member not to have previously completed a marathon distance before training began, says team spirit will be key.
“I am a bit nervous because I did an ultra marathon three weeks ago to prepare and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said.
“But it’s the help of the other lads and the moral support of my girlfriend that helps.”
Taking on 7,000 to 10,000 calories a day in food to keep up their energy levels, the team will face the terrain of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, plus aches, pains and the threat of mammoth blisters.
Added Pc Ian (33): “It’s been difficult to train for because the time impacts on your home life, we’ve all been putting in about 25 hours a week.
“It’s going to be an adventure one way or another.”
Supported by police colleagues Saun Brown and Lee Huffer in a support vehicle, the team will camp each night along the route.
Said Pc Wright (27), a British Transport Police officer: “I’ve done quite a bit of long-distance running before, including a 29.3 mile ultra race, but this is a whole new ball game and has been back-to-back training every day.
“You are getting up and running when you are sore and it’s just been very hard.
“But we just want to complete the challenge and not let anyone down.”
Together they hope to raise £5,000 for Help for Heroes, which supports injured service personnel, and King’s Mill Hospital-based Amazon after being inspired by colleague WPc Angela Norman.
Now in remission from breast cancer a year after being diagnosed, she is due to return to work this month.
Said Angela (43): “I think what they are doing is fantastic because it raises awareness and keeps it in the public eye. It’s important because so many cancer organisations depend on donations.”
Local firms including Park Hall Financial Services, Mansfield Woodhouse, and Advancis Medical, Kirkby, have chipped in with cash for fuel and equipment.
To sponsor the group or for more information visit www.justgiving.com/amazon555 or www.justgiving.com/5x5x5 or contact 07702141771.