LOCAL runner Rob Starbuck took part in the 65-mile Run to Pegasus event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, reliving a run he took part in 10 years ago – his first experience of long distance running.
Rob, 58, who lives in St John’s runs a company called Global Media Direct and is responsible for Woking News and Mail Recruitment & Classified Advertising Sales, first took part in a sponsored run at the 2009 D-Day anniversary to raise funds to build a lasting memorial at Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, under the name Project 65.
On 4 June this year he once again ran the 65 miles from Tarrant Rushton, Dorset to Portsmouth then took a ferry to Caen to walk onto Pegasus Bridge at 16 minutes past midnight, 75 years to the second after the first glider landed to take the strategic bridge.
The run was organised by the Veterans’ Charity, founded in March 2008 to support UK Veterans of all generations. It pays tribute to the action on 5 June 1944 by a force of 181 men led by Major John Howard. They took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton, Dorset in six Horsa gliders to capture Pegasus Bridge, and also “Horsa Bridge”, a few hundred yards to the east, over the Orne River in Normandy. The aim was to prevent German armour from crossing the bridges and attacking the eastern flank of the landings at Sword Beach.
“Throughout this challenge I have represented Private Fred Weaver, as I did 10 years ago,” said Rob.
“As luck would have it I now know more about Pte Weaver through a relative contacting us via social media. One of the saddest things I found out was that 10 years earlier on the 65th Anniversary he was still alive, but we knew nothing about him as he rarely spoke of his incredible experiences to even his closest relatives. But it was nice 75 years later to honour his memory fully.”
Rob added: “The 2009 run was the start of my long distance running, but more than that it was a chance to remember and commemorate the bravery shown undertaking this mission and support The Veterans Charity.
Rob’s fundraising page is www.justgiving.com/fundraising/robrunspegasus2019
For the full story get today’s (13 June ) edition of the News & Mail