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April 2021

Bomb disposal soldier sets sights on world record

A soldier is planning to raise £100,000 for two charities by running, cycling and swimming 1754 miles in just 26 days.

WO2 Si Hannaford RE, 42, is taking on the mammoth challenge to swim 21miles - the length of the British channel - then cycle 1000-miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats and finally run 733-miles from John O’Groats back to Bicester.

Part of the challenge will see him run for the first mile wearing a full bomb disposal suit - weighing 35.8kg or 5.6 stone - in an attempt to beat the fastest mile in a bomb disposal suit record of 7-minutes 24-seconds which was set by a British Army Solider in 2017.

Si, who is based within the Bicester area, is urging people to sign-up and follow his YouTube channel - he needs 1000 followers so he can broadcast it live from his mobile phone.

The father-of-four, who has been training five hours a day, will set off on June 1 and plans to complete the challenge in just 26 days.

It means he will have to cycle 100 miles a day and run 54 miles a day to meet the target. During the challenge, on June 5, he will also celebrate his 43rd birthday. His principal sponsors are Camper King, the Aardvark GroupNP Aerospace and Pearson Engineering.

Two charities are set to share what he hopes will be a £100,000 fund raising pot – these are the Hummingbird Centre, a cancer support center based in Launton, near Bicester and the Felix Fund which supports soldiers, sailors, airman and SO15 Police with the impact of their work in bomb disposal and search.

Si said: “It will be tough emotionally and physically, but it’s not impossible and I’m determined to complete this challenge. I would not say I’m super fit – I would say I’m above average, but I believe it’s all in the mind - I’ve got strong willpower and I’m quite stubborn.

“I feel in a small way this challenge relates to the charities I am supporting. In my mind people who are being supported by these charities are facing much bigger challenges and these will at times seem impossible to deal with.

“Two years ago, my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and thankfully she had her operation before the pandemic, but she did struggle emotionally. At the time she would have benefited greatly by somewhere like the Hummingbird Centre which could have supported her through that period in her life.

“There must be thousands of people in and around Bicester who have either been diagnosed with cancer or will be in the future and I believe it’s so important to have this facility available, free for everyone that may need it.”

Diane Mbangwa, for the Hummingbird Centre, said: “We are delighted Si has chosen the Hummingbird Centre as one of his charities, we wish him every success in his challenge.”

Last year Si ran 26 marathons in 26 days on a treadmill and raised £4,000 for the NHS and Felix Fund, which supported him after tours of Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland.

To sign-up to Si’s YouTube view

To sponsor Si view Or  

Comments from sponsors:

The Aardvark Group said: “Aardvark is foremost a humanitarian organisation, working to help rid the world of the explosive remnants of war through technologies developed by operators, for operators.”

Camper King said: Camper King is delighted to be supporting Si's epic fundraising challenge with a van for him to refresh and recover in each night. We'll be rooting for him every step of the way.

NP Aerospace said: “NP Aerospace, a manufacturer of life saving armour products, is sponsoring Si to complete the triathlon but has also set him another extreme challenge which is to beat the fastest mile in a bomb suit.”

Si Hannaford 4030 ELITE Bomb Disposal Suit

4030 ELITE Bomb Disposal Suit