SEVEN soldiers have completed seven marathons in seven days in the gruelling desert heat of Afghanistan.

The superfit squad – including Huddersfield Royal Signaller Joe Higgins – have raised more than £5,000 for a trio of charities close to their hearts.

The other members were Warrant Officer Rupkumar Gurung, Sgt Rachael Allen, Cpl Geraint Davies, Cpl Emma Dempsey, L/Cpl Gary Eland and L/Cpl Sam McCracken.

The challenge included a number of different events including running, cycling and rowing.

Day one saw the soldiers run a traditional marathon run in 30°C heat.

Day two was a 26.2 mile row done as a team.

Day three was completed on a cross-trainer, a stationary exercise machine used to simulate walking or running.

“This was the funniest day of all,” said organiser and team member Cpl Davies.

“We had a few members of the team who had previous experience of the cross trainer and some who had never been on it before.

“Of the ones with no experience it was Cpl Higgins who found it the hardest.

“He fell off several times and it took him over twice as long to complete as some of the other members.’’

It was back outside for a boot run on day four, while day five was an individual bike ride.

The team was back on the cross-trainer for day six, while a tough march, conducted when carrying nearly four stones in weight (25kg) completed the final challenge on day seven.

The squaddies were joined for the final challenge by former England rugby union stars Neil Back and Steve Thompson.

The feat was all the more impressive as the soldiers took on the challenge while continuing their duties at the UK signals detachment in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command.

Cpl Davies added: “We received so much support in the build-up to the event.

“The local shops and businesses at Kabul airport and Camp Souter were so generous in their support and donations.

“Our friends, family, members of the International Joint Command and members of 258 Signal Squadron based around Afghanistan also gave us their support.”

The money is being split between Combat Stress, the charity helping British ex-servicemen and women suffering from physiological trauma, Afceco, which cares for 600 children in 11 orphanages in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Project Bland, named after a fellow Signaller who died in service in Kabul.

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