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Colchester: Friends set for London Marathon challenge in full First World War uniform

PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:16 19 March 2014

London Marathon runners Graham Elsy and Daniel Brown (left) are running together in full WW1 uniform.

London Marathon runners Graham Elsy and Daniel Brown (left) are running together in full WW1 uniform.

Two friends are preparing to don First World War uniforms and pound the streets of the capital.

Graham Elsy and Daniel Brown, from Colchester, are taking part in this year’s Virgin London Marathon on Sunday, April 13.

The pair, who volunteer for Essex Army Cadet Force and help with poppy collecting, are aiming to raise £3,600 for the Royal British Legion while raising awareness of the charity’s work.

Mr Elsy, 48, who backs the EADT’s Shoulder to Shoulder campaign, is hoping to complete the 26.2-mile course in seven to eight hours.

“I’m wearing a Gordon Highlander kilt with an apron over the top, boots, all the webbing and a Glengarry while Daniel is wearing the uniform of a private within the British Army – so trousers, jacket, cap and webbing,” he said.

“The soldiers at that time had to carry ammunition and full backpacks and it weighs a lot.

“They had to wear it while climbing out of the trenches and running 300 yards under heavy gunfire.”

Mr Elsy, who works for the Ministry of Defence, added: “The training is going very well but it’s actually trying to get time for us both to meet up and train together.

“We both work shifts but we’re cracking on with the individual training.”

Mr Brown, 34, a PCSO with Essex Police, took part in the London Marathon in 2003.

“As hard as it was I had the crazy idea that I needed to do it again,” he said. “With it being the centenary of the First World War, I’m quite passionate about it as my great-grandfather fought in the First World War from the beginning to the end.”

Speaking about Shoulder to Shoulder, which supports veterans serving personnel in their time of need, Mr Elsy said: “We are both strong supporters of our military men and women and whenever the Royal British Legion asks if they can help in any way, we are there and normally ask the cadets too.”

Mr Elsy and Mr Brown are hoping to raise £3,600 and have collected just under £500 so far.

Mr Elsy added: “I’m planning on going to Merville Barracks in Colchester to see if they can help with sponsorship.

“If every soldier puts in 50p we should make our fundraising target with no problems.”

Visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Daniel.Brown16 to sponsor the pair.

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