A remarkable Royal Marine Commando, Lance Corporal Luke Grainger from Chivenor is pushing himself to the limit with a unique running adventure of completing 60 marathons in 60 days, as part of the Royal Marines Commando 80 Challenge in aid of RMA – The Royal Marines Charity.
Currently, with 40 marathons notched up, he has been supported by both Royal Marines and Army Units, who serve within the Commando Brigade, completing runs in and around Plymouth, Barnstable, Land’s End, Windsor and Bristol.
He has one more to do in Plymouth on Saturday 15th October, the Plym Valley Trail Marathon – before heading to Scotland where he will finish the Challenge on 30th October at the Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge, the ancestorial home of the Wartime commandos who trained near-by Achnacarry during WW2, 80 years ago.
“I am completing this challenge for The Royal Marines Charity,” said Luke. “It’s the final event of many that Royal Marines have done this year to commemorate 80 years of the Royal Marines taking on the Commando role.
“The support from Royal Marine and Army Units I have run with has been exceptional. Nothing has been too much trouble, whether getting certain food for me, to adapting the route depending on how I am feeling.
“I have met and run alongside a range of ranks from Marines to Colonels, 90% of whom I had never met before. My Bosses at Chivenor have been especially supportive, allowing me the time away from the Unit, regularly checking in with me, providing help and advice where it is needed.”
Luke is also grateful from the Public support….It’s been second to none. I’ve spoken with people from all walks of life, in many different parts of the country and even had people jumping out of cars to throw money into the charity pot.
“One encounter that stands out is a guy I met on my run with Royal Marines Reserve in Bristol. We got chatting and he offered to show me the area the following day, which prevented me from running alone and made it much more enjoyable, taking in views I would never have seen. He even stashed some water and food halfway round the route just in case we needed it and we still keep in touch, checking on how I am getting along.
“I will be extremely proud of myself if I am able to complete this challenge and still be in one piece. I’ve never done any sort of ultra-running before, having only ever completed three marathons prior to the start. I have learnt a lot about myself and I am now fully aware of what I am capable of.”
Although initially losing a couple of kilos, Luke has learnt to manage his daily food intake and is surprised by how good he is feeling considering he has run over 1000 miles in 40 days. He sees a sports therapist once a week to help relax his legs and says he has never stretched so much in his life. “My dog Harley is also in the shape of her life from all the long, slow runs she has been on, but she has kept me sane throughout,” added Luke.