A FORMER RAF sergeant from Ammanford is urging all the public to get fit and join him on a mammoth 100km (62-mile) walk from London to Brighton in aid of Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind ex-Service men and women.
Gary Mendoza, who served in the RAF for 13 years before becoming a top sports nutritionist and sports nutrition lecturer, was looking to complete a challenge in aid of charity when he came across Blind Veterans UK’s annual fundraising walk.
“Taking part in a 100km walk in aid of a military charity seemed perfect for me, being an ex-serviceman," he said. "My father was a Warrant Officer 1 in the Royal Marines and I went to a military forces school in Singapore when my dad was serving out there, so I naturally feel a strong affiliation with the military.”
Blind Veterans UK is the national charity for blind ex-service men and women which provides a lifetime’s emotional and practical support to blind veterans.
Not for the weak or unfit, Blind Veterans UK’s 100k London to Brighton walk will take place over the weekend of June 21-22 and will see hundreds of participants attempt to do trek all the way from Putney, south west London, to Ovingdean, Brighton within 24 hours.
“I am really looking forward to the walk, which I know will be a big mental challenge as well as a physical challenge," said Gary, 55. "My training is going very well. I am used to training hard as I played rugby whilst serving with the RAF and I also played at county level. The reason for taking up the challenge is that I train so much better when there is an end goal.”
Gary, who lectures in nutrition for sport and exercise at Cardiff Metropolitan and Bath Spa Universities, trains new personal trainers across the UK and runs a weight loss programme online. He is helping some of the other walkers by providing advice on nutritional strategies for the walk.
Blind Veterans UK still has places available for its 100K walk. The cost of a place is £99 per person or £120 per relay team. The charity is also introducing two-man relay teams so that for the first time people will be able to take part in pairs, walking 50km of the trek each.
The all-inclusive entrance fee for participants includes hot food at three rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the walk, first aiders en route as well as a free event T-shirt.