Sunday 10 May 2009

The London Marathon 2009

The London Marathon took place on 26th April and a new record time of 2 hours 5 minutes and 10 seconds was set by the winner, the Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru. There's no doubting this was a commendable effort by a fit young man.

Alongside him, or rather, behind him came the hundreds and thousands of so-called 'fun runners' many of them running to raise money for charities. While most people finished on the same day that they started, one man finished the course yesterday, thirteen days after he set out. He wasn't wearing a funny costume or doing stunts along the way. Major Philip Packer of the Royal Military Police was told he would never walk again after losing both legs in a rocket attack in Basra in 2008 but he was determined to prove his doctors wrong. He wanted to raise £ 1million for Help for Heroes, his inspiration and resolve arising from meeting soldiers in hospital with far worse injuries than he had sustained. He completed the marathon course on crutches, despite agonising back pain, walking two miles a day. Incredibly, he only started using crutches less than two months ago. He has already rowed the English Channel and completed a sky-dive and his next venture will be an attempt to climb El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park in California.

In the back-biting atmosphere reported daily in politics and sport and other areas of life it is both humbling and inspiring to hear of this man's determination, dedication and courage.

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