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Servicemen take on toughest 10k event in friend’s memory

Servicemen take on toughest 10k event in friend’s memory

29 April 2012

Brothers Chris and Mark Plumb from Coulby Newham in Middlesbrough are taking part in ‘the world's toughest 10k event’ to fundraise in memory of a close friend who died last month of pancreatic cancer.

Chris, 31, an RAF Sergeant based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in York, together with his brother, Corporal Mark Plumb, 26, based at RAF Leeming, are in training for the 2012 Total Warrior event, which takes place on 04 August in the Lake District. They’re dedicating their run to Gordon “Gordi” Manders who died on 10 March, just a few months after his diagnosis, aged 46.

“I’d known Gordi all my life, as he lived two doors away from my family home,” says Chris. “I always looked up to him. He was 15 years older than me and worked as a doorman when I first got to know him properly. I started working with him when I was about 17 and he took me under his wing and always looked out for me. He’d always been a role model to me and we became really good friends - he was like an older brother.”

Although Chris joined the RAF and moved away, and Gordi started up a courier business which took him all over Europe, they kept in touch and whenever Chris was on leave, he always dropped in to catch up.

“It was August last year when I found out he was ill,” says Chris. “It was such a terrible shock – he was young, fit, always looked after himself, never smoked, rarely drank – but had been struck down with one of the most aggressive cancers there is. I knew he had his family around him, but I knew he’d be being strong for them, so whenever I could get to see him at weekends on leave I’d go round and we’d hang out, just like the old days.”

“He was completely inspirational in the way he handled his illness and never complained. He knew he was dying and said that he was looking forward to seeing his dad again, who’d died when he was 13. He never let on how scared he was. But towards the end, when he became very ill and weak, we would go to the cinema and in the darkness, when he thought no-one could see, he would sometimes shed a few tears.

“He was so well known in the community, his funeral was packed, which shows the love and respect everyone had for him.”

The brothers are fundraising for the UK charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and their online donation page is at .

Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of any common cancer. Only 3 in every 100 people diagnosed will live for 5 years – and the survival rate has shown no improvement in the last forty years. Despite this, it receives less than 2 per cent of central research funding. 

“The Total Warrior event is supposed to be the toughest 10k event in the world, and it’s said to be the ultimate test of strength, stamina and mental determination with fire pits, mud swamps, river crossings and rough terrain,” says Chris. “But in truth it can’t be half as tough as what Gordi went through and the thought of this will push us through. I want to make him proud. We also want to raise as much money as possible, so please help us honour our friend.”


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