The Royal Marines are running over 20 marathons across the UK in September and October this year.  This is just one of many challenges being planned to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Royal Marines becoming Commandos.  It began on the 1 Sep at Lands’ End and finish on the 30 Oct in the Highlands of Scotland.  This week, Royal Marines from Commando Helicopter Force will run through Bournemouth, Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth. Personnel from all Royal Marines Commando units, Army Commandos and all Reserve units from across the country are taking part totalling about 500 men and women; Two Royal Marines will complete all the marathons. The run will finish in Scotland where the very first Commandos were trained during the Second World War.

“The Royal Marines are organising several epic challenges and running many marathons around the UK over the next 3 months to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Royal Marines becoming Commandos”.

“Royal Marines love to challenge themselves, whether that is cycling around the UK, Kayaking across the Irish Sea, running a ridiculous distance or maxing out on press-ups – it’s what they do, and it’s what they do well”.

“The event will finish on the 30 October in Scotland where the very first Commandos were trained during the Second World War”.    

Lt Col Gary Green OBE, RM Commando 80 Challenge Organiser

Why is this Challenge so important?

Royal Marines deploy away from the UK on a regular basis to protect our nation’s interests.  They are a highly effective and flexible force trained to survive and operate in the harshest conditions.  The fact that they can intervene anywhere in the world often comes with a price.  Injuries occur and sometimes those injuries, physical or mental, can be life-changing; that is where the Royal Marines Charity steps in to help.  RMA – The Royal Marines Charity needs to raise a significant amount each year to continue providing support on an enduring basis to the Royal Marines’ family.   Some of this money is raised through individual marines contributing via their pay, but the bulk comes from its fundraising community and initiatives such as the RMA and Royal Marines Cadets supporting fundraising for the Royal Marines Commando 80 Challenge


In 1940, after Dunkirk, Churchill gave the order to ‘Set Europe Ablaze’. The Royal Marines were over committed; supporting the Fleet at sea, whilst the Royal Marines Division was the only formed unit capable of defending against the threatened German invasion, so the task of forming Commando units fell to the Army.  However, on the 14th of February 1942 the first Royal Marines volunteers assembled at the barracks in Deal, they were known as The Royal Marine Commando.  On the 5th of April 1942 the newly formed Royal Marines Commando travelled to Scotland for training on the rough terrain near to the Achnacarry Castle.  T-Company was then formed from the Commando Unit on the 14th of April 1942  for a special task. 

These 36 ranks and two officers were the first formed group of Marines to complete the commando course.  On the 18th of May 1942, the now fully trained Royal Marines Commando left Scotland on HMS Landing Ship Infantry Princess Beatrix, the first move of a RM Commando by sea.  And then on the 25th of June 1942 the Royal Marines Commando began rehearsing landings and assaults from HMS Locust in Portsmouth Harbour leading to the Dieppe Raid on the 19th August 1942