AN Afghanistan veteran will lead a team of youths from a social housing firm on a gruelling trek through the Derbyshire peaks.
A group of eight tenants and staff from Burton’s YMCA aim to complete the 65-mile endurance march in 24 hours, when they set off tomorrow morning.
Former army veteran Paul Beardsley will lead the team from Milton House, in Cross Street, to Dovedale where they will complete four laps of Thorpe Cloud before returning.
The 31-year-old, who is now YMCA Burton’s housing support and participation officer, said the challenge will be a stern physical and mental test.
Mr Beardsley said: “It’s going to be extremely challenging.
“These guys have gone from having no fitness to training up to five times a week and sticking to it religiously.
“It also goes to show there is a misconception about youths.
“They are not all lazy people who walk around with their hoodies up.”
It is the second time Mr Beardsley has organised the so-called March March to raise money for Burton YMCA’s young people’s services.
Last year, a team completed a similar 21-mile endurance march.
But this year, Mr Beardsley said he wanted to ‘step it up a bit’.
He said: “I’m ex-military so we have been doing military-style circuit training, long-distance running, walking and swimming so we have been very busy.
“All the training has been conducted outdoors in wind, rain and the intense heat of last summer.”
Mr Beardlsey, who also served in Northern Ireland during his 10-year military career, said the challenge would also provide the team with valuable skills.
He said: “The March March is an annual event designed to be physically demanding whilst promoting team work and leadership.
“The team has been pushed to the mental limit as well having to learn map reading skills that have been put to the test on orienteering exercises.”
Anyone who wants to donate to the team can do so by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/marchmarch14