“Marathon training is a natural extension of Army discipline”: Corporal Arnold Rogers is running for Gibraltar at the Commonwealth Games

Corporal Arnold Rogers: “Running in my Army vest makes me proud” (Credit: Garry Fox)

Corporal Arnold Rogers, a movements clerk with the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, is running in the marathon for Team Gibraltar at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

He is one of the six serving Armed Forces personnel competing or coaching at the Games. Ahead of his race on Saturday 30 July, he shared his story:

When I first joined the Army in Warminster, I was a long way from home and was often on camp on my own on the weekend. I started running in the training area during those weekends, and the runs got longer and further.

It was only when I transferred to the Gibraltar Regiment to work as a movements clerk, shortly after returning from my deployment in Afghanistan, that I decided to take it to a competitive level. I won the first local race I entered and a decade on, I’m the number one-ranked distance runner in Gibraltar and the only marathon runner to compete under the nation’s flag at this year’s Commonwealth Games.

Cpl Arnold Rogers (third from left) waves the flag for Gibraltar at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony (Credit: Garry Fox)

You can almost have a professional sporting career within the military — you can get paid, you’re supported by colleagues and initiatives like the Army elite sports programme, and you have the flexibility you need. With a normal job in an office, that just wouldn’t be possible. I’ve had fantastic support from Army Athletics and my unit since qualifying for the Games.

Discipline and commitment become part of your personality when you’re in the Army. You’ve got to be disciplined to go out and train every day in all weathers, so training for a marathon has been a natural extension of that.

Training is constant. I started ticking training boxes in January, when I began with strength and conditioning and have been running between six and seven times a week. I wear my regimental jersey when I train in Gibraltar and am known in the running community and my regiment for my sport. When I run in the UK in my Army vest, I get a lot of people shouting their support, which makes me proud.

What I’ve learnt through running and elite sport, about the importance of strength conditioning and nutrition for instance, has helped to make me a better PTI (physical training instructor) for my unit. I wouldn’t have had that level of knowledge otherwise.

I’m quite good with keeping the nerves under control and don’t tend to put pressure on myself, so I’m feeling calm ahead of the race.

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