Soldier Marcus in pedalling challenge

Leyland soldier Marcus Durber
Leyland soldier Marcus Durber
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Afghanistan veteran Marcus Durber has taken a break from his normal soldier duties to undertake a gruelling 540 mile charity cycling challenge.

The Warrant Officer with 2 Medical Regiment from Moss Side, Leyland, joined colleagues setting off from their current base in Hohne, Germany, pedalling to their new base in North Luffenham, Rutland.

Troops on the move ' the cyclists making their way through Europe.

Troops on the move ' the cyclists making their way through Europe.

The journey saw the father-of-three spend over 38 hours in the saddle, but he was spurred on by the aim of helping raise £9,500 for BLESMA, which supports limbless veterans.

The former Wellfield and Worden High School pupil, 38, said: “I decided to embark on the challenge as I saw it as a fitting way to end my time with the Regiment before we left Germany.

“I am used to aerobic endurance and leg strength through being a spinning instructor but there is no escaping the fact the challenge was hard, definitely enjoyable and rewarding however something not to be repeated!”

For the majority of the trip the group used country roads and cycle paths; but a few times, major roads through Germany had to be used.

“I am used to aerobic endurance and leg strength through being a spinning instructor but there is no escaping the fact the challenge was hard, definitely enjoyable and rewarding however something not to be repeated!”

Marcus Durber

Marcus added: “Day one had a short stretch of dual carriageway which was redirected when German police intervened! The most challenging aspect could be one of two things.

“Firstly the time trial to the ferry when we realised we had 90 minutes to cycle 40kms. With the overall mileage that day being 102 miles, I could have done without that!

“Secondly, the last day which involved us being escorted through Rutland by Velo Club Rutland. On day six those hills just never stopped, yet the ride that morning was only 30 miles in total.”

Major Stuart Irvine, second in command of 2 Medical Regiment said: “Cycles are not the obvious mode of transport when you are relocating from another country, but as well as introducing our soldiers to the sport of road cycling we wanted to provide a suitable event to mark the Regiment’s final departure from British Forces Germany and our arrival in Rutland.

Charlee-Ann Acaster, Liam Connelly, Marcus Durber, Stuart Irvine, Richie Mason, Michelle Horden, Tom Stratford and Robin Newton.

Charlee-Ann Acaster, Liam Connelly, Marcus Durber, Stuart Irvine, Richie Mason, Michelle Horden, Tom Stratford and Robin Newton.

“I could not have asked for a better group of people to have done the ride with. There were highs and lows, but ultimately we all completed an amazing feat of endurance.”

BLESMA’s operations director Ian Waller said: “We would like to congratulate the whole team for their magnificent effort in cycling from Germany and raising over £9,000 for the charity. Blesma will use the money to assist limbless veterans to lead independent and fulfilling lives.”

The next challenge for Marcus, who deployed to Afghanistan four times, is to complete an Ironman competition within two years.