Ripon soldiers’ mega triathlon

From left, Maj Gareth Dent, Cpl Bryan Griffiths and Cpl Lee Pickersgill with MS Society representatives. (S)
From left, Maj Gareth Dent, Cpl Bryan Griffiths and Cpl Lee Pickersgill with MS Society representatives. (S)

Six Ripon-based soldiers are taking on a massive triathlon challenge to raise money for the MS Society helping research into multiple sclerosis.

Their aim is to complete a modified triathlon while they are deployed in Kandahar in Afghanistan this autumn running, cycling and rowing 5,771km in a gym –the distance from Claro Barracks to Kandahar.

The 21 Engineer Regiment soldiers – who are all from 4 Armoured Engineer Squadron – are aiming to raise £3,586. They set that target because it is 3,586 miles between the two bases.

Each person will have to run 186 km, row 81 km and cycle 694 km.

Cpl Bryan Griffiths came up with the idea because his wife is an MS nurse based at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. He says they’ll be taking on the triathlon around their normal duties.

“We’ll be doing it when we get a break. We’ll do a run before we start work and in the evenings we’ll do the rowing and cycling,” said Cpl Griffiths.

“We’ll try and complete the distances within six weeks. We want it to be a challenge so people can see what we’re willing to put ourselves through while we’re on tour.”

Keith Craven, chairman of the Teeside branch of the MS Society, has praised the soldiers for undertaking the challenge while serving their country.

“It is fighting back in quite a different way. We can’t believe they are doing this for us, so far away in such dangerous circumstances,” he said.

“In theory they are fighting for us on two fronts and we cannot thank them enough. We are always looking for innovative ways of raising funds but this will take some beating.”