A British soldier will be pulling on his running shoes and hoping to beat his own national record in the men’s marathon at the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Corporal (Cpl) Arnold Rogers, 31, is a Gibraltarian long-distance runner and the current national record holder for the marathon which he claimed in February in Seville.
The record he now must beat is his own, two hours, 28 minutes and eight seconds which he won knocking off the previous Gibraltar record of two hours, 32 minutes and two seconds – a record which had stood since 1985.
Now he says, that despite the hilly course, his aim has always been to improve on that time at the Commonwealth Games.
Cpl Rogers is also a member of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, colloquially known as “The Barbarians” where he has served since moving to the British overseas territory in 2013 to join his regiment.
During his career in the Army Cpl Rogers has deployed to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick in 2012, where he served for six and a half months, and also to Bahrain on Operation Kipian in a force protection role in 2018.
Cpl Rogers, who was originally inspired to join the Army after watching the Ross Kemp in Afghanistan TV series, will take to the streets of Birmingham on Saturday where the runners will begin their 26.2-mile-long marathon race from Smithfield through the city.
Born and brought up in Portsmouth, Cpl Rogers later moved to Chichester and did various jobs in civvy street before deciding to join the Army and sign up to become a member of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment in 2010.
But after later deciding to look further afield to develop his Army career, in 2013 he finally joined the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and moved to the country where he now lives with his wife and child.
Always keen on fitness, he began running in earnest after joining the Army and while in 3 Yorks began a running journey that has led him to the Commonwealth Games.
“I sort of started while I was in 3 Yorks, I had spare time at weekends and would go out running and training, it was always about training and building up aerobic fitness, he said.
“But when I joined the Gibraltar regiment I began running more, the warmer climate meant I got out more – and then in 2014 I entered a local race and won!
“It was only a four- to -five - kilometre race, and I was an unknown then, but after that I was approached by the running club and started running regularly for them too.”
Eventually he got the chance to take part in international competitions and so far, has participated in five international competitions, the Gibraltar Island games twice, the European Championships in Berlin in 2018, and the World Half Marathon and European Cross-Country competitions twice each.
The seasoned athlete who says this will be his first Commonwealth Games after missing out on entry in 2018, says he plans to take a few weeks off after the Games but will pull on his running shoes again in September to represent the British Army in the Great Northern Run.
He added” I am in the best shape I have ever been in now – and I am really looking forward to the course on Saturday– other than the hills at the end”.