Massive ‘dash’ in memory of lost South Yorkshire pal

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FRIENDS of a fallen soldier took to the streets for an annual run.

Pals and strangers put their legs and hearts through their paces as they tackled the Billy The Kid Dash in memory of Marine David Marsh around Thurgoland.

The soldier was killed in Afghanistan in 2008 – but his memory lives on in the place he grew up as, for the fifth year, sporty types gathered for their own endurance effort in his honour.

Adam Oldham is among those who have organised the Dash since the beginning, prompted by the loss of a childhood friend and popular local lad.

Participants cover a 3.5-mile course around the village, as David did as a teenager.

Adam, who has seen the number of participants grow from 350 to more than a 1,000 since the race started, said: “David used to run the same track so this seemed a good way of remembering him.

“We were only expecting about 30 that first year so we were not really prepared for it. Thousands have since run it, coming from all over the world and we now have fireworks, live music and a hog roast. It’s become a big event for the village.”

Starting off at The Bridge Inn, some entrants run, many walk, a few even crawl, but they all have one name to drive them on.

The Royal Marines Benevolent Fund benefits from donations - since the first Dash the event has raised £50,000.

Few are more proud than David’s sister Katie Marsh, a co-orgainser of the event.

The dance teacher said the Billy The Kid reference came from a tattoo her brother had done on a trip to the U.S.

The 26-year-old said: “We never thought it would get so big and be so successful. It’s nice that lots of David’s Marine friends come up for it and that everyone is thinking about David.”

The winner was presented with an Olympic torch made by Thurgoland Primary School, which David attended.