Ian Gough is taking on a new challenge later this month
Former Wales international Ian Gough will team up with service personnel and civilians later this month as part of an expedition never before attempted in aid of the military charity Hire a Hero.
Hire a Hero aim to get service leavers into meaningful civilian employment, and is privileged to have received the fervent support of the Mount Elbrus team and its supporters.
The challenge will see the team, made-up in part by members of Taurus Squadron stationed at HMS Forward, Birmingham, drive 6,000 miles across seven countries before climbing Elbrus, one of the World's 'seven summits', and then return by car to the start point.
Although a unique and ambitious challenge the 64-cap lock is excited about what the trip has to offer.
"I'm looking forward to it," expressed Gough. "I came on board sort of last minute and it's taken a while to set in."
"But we've done some training, the Three Peaks challenge last month, had the fundraising dinner at Birmingham FC and now it's just down to the final preparations."
Last month's Three Peaks Challenge offered Gough the first opportunity to meet with the team and the Welshman will be in touch with them right up until the big send-off on the 19th July.
"I'm in constant contact with the guys regarding kit. The problem we are having is sourcing size 14 boots for when we get on to the ice, so we're currently scouring the US and Europe for those."
Gough admits himself that he has never done something of this magnitude before but is hopeful that the approach that he has to the game of rugby will see him through the trip.
"This is not something I've done before, going up to altitude, but I'm looking forward to it. As a rugby player I've never shied away from a challenge, and it's that approach that I'm using heading into the expedition."
The charity, for which the intrepid team are climbing Elbrus in aid of has the principle aim to 'serve those who served us' and Gough knows only too well the support networks needed for our Armed Forces.
"I've had family in the military, my uncle, but my best friend also served and unfortunately he was medically discharged with a hip injury."
"Although my best mate did well to get reemployed following the injury my uncle struggled, but this was a long time ago."
For Hire a Hero it appears a common theme that had the concept of the charity been in existence years ago the transition from service to civilian life would have been easier for Service Leavers like Gough's uncle.
The notion of transition is something very apt in relation to Gough, who currently enters the final year of his contract at the RaboDirectPro12 club this season.
"I'm in sort of the same situation," explained the former Newport and Gwent Dragon. "The transition from sport to civilian life, I'm not taking bullets but I am anticipating the move to the 'real world'."
It is thanks to the Athlete Career Transition pathway, that seeks to help leaders in sport to become leaders in business, that Gough is sure to be equipped for this move to the 'real world'
"I'm currently at the profiling stage with ACT, looking to start my own business. I'm doing it a couple of years ahead of retiring from the game so that I have a real spring board."
This approach to transition is something that is positively being seen by service leavers, approaching Hire a Hero to make the necessary arrangement before the move from military to civilian life.
The Mount Elbrus expedition will begin on the 19th July, with the team to return 16 days later on the 4th August. En route the team will travel through France and Poland, paying their respects in Normandy and Auschwitz.
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