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Ex Para from Beverley takes on Great North Run in Roman soldier armour

07 September 2018

Paratroopers are known for never shrinking from a challenge. Their motto, after all, is ‘Utrinque Paratus’, which is Latin for ‘Ready for Anything’. But you’d be forgiven for thinking that one former Para may have taken this maxim a little too far as he prepares for the Great North Run for us this weekend.

Rob James from Beverley, along with two other friends, will be running the 13.1 miles from Newcastle city centre to the coast at South Shields in a full suit of Roman armour. They have taken on the challenge to raise money for Stop it Now!

The 40 year old, who now works as a Police Officer, has teamed up with another former paratrooper who now runs a digital marketing agency, Brian (43) from Somerset, and Ryan (33), a Special Constable and Engineer from Hull, for their crazy caper.

The trio decided that running the course in standard running shorts and vests would be far too easy, and wanted to give themselves an extra challenge. And that’s where they hit on the bizarre idea of running the course dressed as Roman legionnaires. The armour suits, which they’ve bought themselves, are not for the faint-hearted. As well as being extremely hot to run in, the armour will begin to chafe long before the finish line looms into view.

When it comes to making life more difficult than it needs to be, Rob certainly has form. Last year he ran the Great North Run with colleagues in full police riot gear. And next year he intends to pull together a team of 200 Roman centurions to do the run, raising money for charities supporting victims of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Looking forward to Sunday’s run, Rob said:

“OK, we’re mad as anything to be running the course in the sort of kit best left for the museum. But we’re dead serious about wanting to raise money to support a fantastic charity that keeps children safe by working to prevent them from being sexually abused in the first place. The day should be a lot of fun, even if it is a bit painful and I can’t wait for the moment we cross the line and feel that sense of achievement.”

Rob, Ryan and and Brian have already raised the hefty sum of £1,351 for The Lucy Faithfull Foundation. If you’d like to spur them on on Sunday, you can make a donation via the team’s fundraising page.

Best of luck to Rob, Brian and James for Sunday!

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