Hitchin runner to take on 75-mile challenge to commemorate D-Day anniversary
PUBLISHED: 16:09 04 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:21 05 February 2019
A member of a Hitchin running club is set to take on a gruelling 75-mile run to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Hitchin Hares runner Stephen Hague, from Biggleswade, is one of 186 taking part in the Run To Pegasus race between June 4 and 6.
Stephen is raising money for The Veterans Charity, which organises the event.
“My target is a minimum of £1,000 to raise for The Veterans Charity. It’s an amazing organisation that supports veterans in their darkest moments,” he said.
The run is named after Pegasus Bridge – which crosses the Caen Canal in Normandy – where British troops from the 2nd battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were tasked with capturing the vital roads inland from the D-Day beaches.
As well as remembering the men who were tasked with capturing the bridge, Stephen will be running for reasons personal to him.
“I decided to do the run as I have a friend who was seriously injured and whose brother was killed in Afghanistan,” he said.
“Veterans give their all and need supporting in tough times.
“Also, my father landed on the beaches on D-Day that we will run past, so it’s in his memory.”
The run will see Stephen start at Tarrant Rushton Airfield in Dorset – where the men took off from to start their mission – with a section of the first 62 miles taking in the New Forest before arriving at Portsmouth.
A ferry across the English Channel follows, before a 13 mile run on June 6 along the Caen Canal to Pegasus Bridge, arriving 75 years to the day since the assault took place.
Later that day, Stephen will make the 10-mile journey to Horsa Bridge where The Veterans Charity will unveil a memorial to the men of 22 Platoon who marched the same distance to rendezvous with their comrades after their landing glider went off course.
Around 90 minutes after taking off from Tarrant Rushton, Major John Howard, who was leading the attack, sent the code word Ham and Jam, indicating both Pegasus and Horsa bridges had been captured.
As well as securing a bridgehead for allied forces, troops also liberated the first house on French soil.