Task Force Helmand HQ Run Half-Marathon Relay Race.
Intrepid souls from Headquarters Task Force Helmand (HQ TFH), the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team (HPRT), the United States Marines Corps (USMC) and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have taken part in a Half Marathon Relay Race around their small base in the southern Afghanistan city of Lashkar Gah.
HQ TFH is formed predominantly of members of the Colchester based 16 Air Assault Brigade. Its role is to provide coordination and assistance for the deployed units throughout the TFH area of operations in Helmand Province. As such, it is a busy place to be and the staff work hard to ensure that the regiments and battalions from the brigade are fully supported throughout all their operations. Therefore, when an opportunity comes to enjoy themselves the staff take it with both hands! The HPRT are responsible for running and coordinating reconstruction and development projects throughout Helmand Province in conjunction with TFH.
The race was run in teams of four with each individual running two laps of the base before handing over to the next runner. This was carried out three times with each person running over 3 miles in total. Each team paid a small entry fee that was donated to Help for Heroes. Prolog, a private company responsible for infrastructure with a base in Lashkar Gah, donated t-shirts for all runners and NAAFI donated prizes.
The event was won by a team from Colchester based 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron in a time of 1 hour, 9 minutes and 20 seconds. Corporal Sean O’Connor, a member of the winning team, said:
“The Lashkar Gah Half Marathon was a really enjoyable event in aid of Help for Heroes. The run itself was quite tricky to gauge as it was just over a mile and trying to pace it was hard as there was a lot of good competition. I enjoyed the race as it was well organised and was run in good spirits. An added bonus to helping to raise money for Help for Heroes was that we won the event. Overall we had a great morning.”
One of the race organisers was Lieutenant Ross Arnold from 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron, who had planned the race earlier in the tour, he said:
“The event was organised back in December with the idea that it would be glorious summer sun by March and a great way to finish the tour. Needless to say it was performed in true British weather – fog and mud puddles! We choose to do a half marathon as the base is pretty tight for space and it also inspired a bit of departmental rival. The t-shirts were donated by Prolog and the prizes were kindly donated by the NAAFI. The grand sum of $2,000 (approx £1,228) has been raised for Help for Heroes.”