Lowestoft man will run five marathons in five days for Forces charity
A former soldier will run 131 miles in support of the Armed Forces.
This May Leon Bernasconi, of Lowestoft, is going to tackle five marathons over five days to raise money for Project 65 - The Veterans Charity. The extreme event will see the father-of-four travel from Ilfracombe in North Devon, through Exmoor, the Quantocks, Somerset and Salisbury Plain before finishing near Bulford Camp, the UK's biggest Army garrison. He will be joined by four serving soldiers.
The race, known as the Forces March, has become a benchmark for endurance runners and walkers that transcends athletics and sports. For 38-year-old Mr Bernasconi, who served in the Army for 10 years, it is a chance to raise much needed funds for the men and women who are injured while serving their country.
He said: 'People ask me whether I think I'll complete it. Even if I break my leg I'll drag myself to the finish line. I'm doing it for the soliders who come back from Afghanistan injured - the guys who have to drag themselves around for the rest of their lives. That's what I'll be thinking about when I complete it.'
Mr Bernasconi, who lives on the Badger estate in Lowestoft, served with the royal logistic corps and the royal corps of transport. He was based at Odiham working with Chinook helicopters, then Bulford where he trained in Arctic Warfare. He finished his service as a physical training instructor at Abingdon.
During his time in the forces he served in the first Gulf war, did numerous tours of Northern Ireland and served in Bosnia.
Every year since he left he has taken part in charity fundraisers, from running the Las Vegas marathon to parachuting for NSPCC.
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He wants to raise a minimum of �1,000 and has already reached the �800 mark.
To train for the event Mr Bernasconi, manager of the LifeSkills centre in Lowestoft, runs along the seafront every morning.
'I'm up at 5.30am and I'm normally out for two hours,' he said.
'I'll take my dog, a black Labrador called Spud, and we'll normally go along the seafront. The five marathons I'll be doing are quite hilly, but because it's so flat around here I haven't really had chance to train for that. I'm not 100pc sure how I should be training to be honest, so I'm just doing normal marathon training and hoping that when the time comes I'll be able to drag myself out of bed each morning.'
The Forces March will start in Ilfracombe on May 21. It will end at the Forces Festival, an annual celebration now in its second year, near Bulford Camp, Wiltshire. It has been organised by Project 65 - The Veterans Charity, a cause founded in 2007 to raise funds for the care and support of wounded armed forces personnel and forces families.
To sponsor Mr Bernasconi visit www.justgiving.com/Leon-Bernasconi0.