More than a marathon effort from members of the Ashford Triathlon Club

Combat StressThree members of the Ashford Triathlon Club are taking on a marathon challenge – not only are they running the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 17 April wearing military boots, combat trousers and carrying a Bergen rucksack weighing 26kg but at each mile point, they will be doing 26 reps of an exercise like a press up or a burpee!

Dave Cooper, from Ashford, came up with the idea for this amazing challenge to raise money for Combat Stress, the veterans’ mental health charity.

“I was watching the Brighton Marathon last year, cheering friends on and loved the atmosphere.  I thought it would be fun to do and mentioned it to a friend.  We were both in the Armed Forces many moons ago and together we dreamed up the idea of wearing boots and carrying a Bergen as well as the reps at the mile markers to make it more of a challenge for us, more interesting to those watching, and of course to raise more money for charity,” says Dave.

He will be running the marathon with Steve Williams and Jason Brown (also both from Ashford).  They will be supported along the way by two club members, Julie and Martin Abbott, who will run alongside them, encouraging them and collecting money from supporters as the guys do their reps at the mile markers.

“Due to the weight of the Bergen’s and the fact that while Steve and I are relatively fit blokes for our age, we are both ‘old soldiers’ we plan to speed march the course rather than run it.  I think it will take us around six and a half hours.

“We chose to support Combat Stress as Steve and I are both ex-Forces and know how important the work of the charity is.  In addition, in my current role as a police officer I see former military personnel come into police custody as a result of action they have taken whilst suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  For those veterans with mental health conditions, Combat Stress is a charity they can turn to as it provides free specialist treatment to ex-servicemen and women across the UK.”

Tom Wilman, Senior Volunteer & Community Fundraising Officer, Combat Stress, said, “Dave, Steve and Jason are taking on an awesome challenge for us and we’re so grateful for their fundraising efforts with this marathon challenge.  The money they raise will help us to continue to support veterans with mental health conditions across the country.”

Dave added, “With just a few weeks to go, we’re on course with our training and getting sponsorship for each of the mile markers where we will do the 26 reps.  There are still a few available for sponsorship though – for £26 you can decide the exercise we have to do.”

For more information or to sponsor Dave and the team, visit



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