A determined group of friends went more than the extra mile to raise money for veterans’ charities by completing a gruelling coast to coast walk.
Six pals and a small team of supporters marched from Workington in Cumbria to Hartlepool – a distance of 134 miles – in just four days.
Blistered but elated, they were given a heroes’ welcome when they arrived at Rovers Rugby Club.
Started by armed forces veterans Kev Robson and Stephen Shearer three years ago, the annual walk is on course to raise over £20,000 over the years including this year’s sponsorship.
This year’s hardy team consisted of Kev, Stephen, Graham Dale, Nigel Carr, Sean Allison and Russ Welsh.
Deb Robson and Anne Abbey were part of the support team.
Russ, a former RAF firefighter, who is virtually blind, described it as the hardest thing he has ever done.
The 49-year-old dad of three said: “It was the hardest thing I have ever done physically but I’m glad I did it.
“The coast to coast for experienced walkers is normally done over seven to ten days but we wanted to do it in four so the pace was intensive.
“Everybody had some sore of problem with their feet.”
The pace meant the team walked for an average of 12 hours a day and on once day from 6am to 9pm.
Some parts were particularly hard for Russ, from Seaton Carew, who has just 2%-3% vision.
“An area called the Hartside Pass was the hardest going by far,” he said. “It is a 6-7 mile steady climb.
“I used a number of different techniques where I held on to somebody or they verbally guided me.”
Despite the pain, Russ said the experience was well worth it.
He added: “It was a fabulous team, we all worked really well.
“There was a lot of good humour all the way round.
“Over the previous three years the walk has raised £17,000 and we are hoping to get about £5,000 from this year.”
The money will go to Soldiers off the Streets, Save Our Soldier, and Belsma which supports limbless servicemen and women.
A representative from Save Our Soldier presented the team with medals at the after walk party.
It is not too late to donate. Find out how on the Hartlepool C2C Challenge 2018 Facebook page.