August 7th 2013

Torch-lit fundraising ambition for Cadet Quartermaster

Carrying the Olympic Torch has inspired a retired Army major to complete a remarkable series of fitness challenges raising money for cancer charities in the last year.

As the country reflects on the legacy of London 2012 one year on, Rob Holland, of Bardney, is a shining example of how people have built on their personal involvement with the Games.
Rob’s Army career spanned 37 years rising to the rank of Majorin the Royal Artillery and completing five tours of Northern Ireland as well as serving in the First Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
After retiring in 2010 and having already bought a house in the Lincoln area while still serving in the regular Army, he took up his post as Lincolnshire Army Cadet Force’s (ACF) Quartermaster based at Sobraon Barracks in the city.
“When I was in the Army I was heavily involved with tug of war as a puller and coach and used to do three hours fitness training a day but all that went by the wayside when I retired,” Rob said.
“Carrying the torch and the whole Olympic thing just inspired me and made me want to get back into running.”
When Rob’s mum was diagnosed with cancer he decided to support the Macmillan charity, which had helped her and took part in the great North Run but was so disillusioned with his time that he became doubly determined to get back into shape.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and have never been so fit even though I’m 57 now,” he added.
Rob now follows a gruelling daily exercise routine involving running, interval training, exercise sessions and spinning classes at Yarborough Leisure Centre in Lincoln.
It was at those spinning classes that he met running partner Cathy Thompson who decided to support his efforts by entering the London Marathon and the pair have been running together since.
Events already completed by Rob are:
– Nottingham’s 10km Rat Race assault course – followed by the Liverpool Marathon the next day!
– London Marathon, Great North Run and several other half marathons
– A 20-mile assault course race with 200 obstacles in Burleigh
– The Hadrian’s Wall 69-mile run consisting of 32 miles on a Saturday and 37 on the Sunday.
“After my mum died I was then contacted by a former soldier friend of mine who had been diagnosed with cancer and then my cousin’s three year old granddaughter was also diagnosed,” he said.
“I went on the Children with Cancer website and Cathy and I pledged to raise £10,000 before next January and so far we have raised £8,200.”
Last summer saw Rob carry the Torch on the Olympic relay as it passed through the East Coast resort of Mablethorpe having been nominated by his daughter Anna for his contribution to Army Tug of War while he was serving in the regular Army. He acted as Army coach, puller and team manager during his time in the service taking a team to World Championships in South Africa.
Rob’s next challenges are a return to the Great North Run on September 15 followed by the Berlin Marathon two weeks later and future targets include scaling Mount Kilimanjaro.
Rob says he is enjoying his new role with the AFC which he balances with his arduous training regime in pursuit of his fund-raising goals.

If you would like to donate to Rob’s fundraising project, visit