Friday, March 22, 2013
A FORMER soldier who completed successive London Marathons with a fridge and then a washing machine on his back is turning up the heat for this year’s run.
Pete Digby plans to make it a white goods hat-trick by having a cooker strapped to him on April 21 – but instead of going for a conventional gas or electric version, the 42-year-old has opted to pull a 250kg Aga.
Despite the fact he will be dragging nearly 40st of cast iron, the father-of-two, who lives near Spaldwick, feels refreshed after a year off and hopes to match his time of 6 hours 47 minutes from 2011.
“I have a few scars from the washing machine,” he said. “It really did hurt last time with all that weight (100lbs) for such a long time. This year will be different because I’m pulling rather than carrying.”
Mr Digby, who was in the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment, said he came up with the idea of running with three different white goods to raise the profile of his chosen charity, the Afghanistan Trust. The trust supports Parachute Regiment soldiers who have served in Afghanistan and their families.
“The last one was always going to be a cooker. I was thinking about what’s iconic with a cooker. I could have done a gas one but the biggest thing for me was an Aga. Obviously I couldn’t carry it but I thought I could pull it.”
Mr Digby, who is now a police officer in London, plans to hand in a health and safety pack to reassure organisers his cargo will not be a hazard to himself or other runners. He said brake discs which can be operated by him or his running partner Paul Milson, will help him stop the Aga quickly, if required.
He is being backed by four companies. Aga is building the cooker which will be on two wheels and attached to him by a harness being made by Tek Military Seating.
A platform, the wheels and the steering and braking systems are being developed by DynaSystems. The project is being managed by Hereford-based Force Development Services.
While waiting for the contraption to be built, Mr Digby has been turning heads around Grafham Water where he has been dragging a concrete-filled car tyre on his training runs. His Aga is due to be completed this week and he plans to start testing it on the guided busway between Swavesey and Cambridge.
Mr Digby hopes to beat his 2011 fundraising total of £10,000 for the trust, which is promoting the efforts of its marathon runners, including five veterans carrying a stretcher, at a launch event in London on Monday (March 25).
INFORMATION: To sponsor Pete, visit www.justgiving.com/agaman. For more on the trust, visit www.afghanistantrust.org