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Wounded Stuart to join in ultra marathon challenge
3:00pm Tuesday 16th June 2009 in News
A SOLDIER who lost his leg in an explosion is hoping to be involved in the final part of a 250km desert marathon using a prosthetic leg.
Lance Corporal Stuart Hale lost his leg in a minefield in Afghanistan in 2006, when a helicopter set off a mine as it came in to land.
Six of Lance Cpl Hale’s comrades from Colchester’s 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment are preparing to embark on the ultra marathon on July 11 It will see them run about 50km a day for five days in up to 35 degrees.
Lance Cpl Hale plans to join them for the stretch of the race in the Anduluz desert in Spain.
The 25-year-old is in Selley Oak Military Hospital in Birmingham this week undergoing physiotherapy. He is expected to be fitted with a prosthetic leg more suited to physical endurance next week.
One of his colleagues, Cpl Matt McManus, of Harwich, said; “I think he’ll push himself throughout – it’s a Para mentality.
“It is for him to give something back. 3 Para have put money his way from everything to transport to extra physio, footwear, even to get his family over to him.
“It is going to be a massive pat on the back to finish the whole event in those temperatures and it puts a mark on the battalion to be involved in massive events.”
The team carry just basic survival supplies while they run.
They will be sleeping rough at night and have a lorry to accompany them to carry their sleeping bags.
Lt Ed Withey, 25, said: “We figured it would capture people’s interest rather than just a normal marathon. It is a bit more hardcore and will make people think about it more and hopefully donate more, as it is more of a challenge.”
Money raised from the marathon will be donated to the Afghanistan Trust, which was set up by 3 Para on return in 2006.
It raises funds for soldiers who have been wounded or injured as a consequence and has helped to provide accommodation for the families of those killed to attend remembrance services.
Lt Withey added: “What will spur me on will be the thousands of pounds we are hopefully raising for a good cause.”
“Soldiers and paras really like these kind of challenges and it is important for us to help support the families and the wounded guys, so it just seems like the perfect combination of a challenge and helping our fellow soldiers- that's really our motivation.”
Donation boxes have been left in shops in Harwich. Businesses supporting the team include Harwich MoT Centre, Cuppa Coffee, Expressions, Focus DIY and Churchill Catering.
To sponsor the team visit www.justgiving.com/3para The team: Matt McManus, 26, has been in the Army for nine years and has served in Northern Ireland, as well as completed two tours of duty in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.
Ed Withey, 25, has been in the Army for three years and completed a tour of duty in Afganistan.
Mark Harold, 22, has been in the Army for three months. His first tour of duty will be with the rest of the battalion, in Afghanistan, next year.
Mark Clare, 22, has been in the Army for four years and has completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan and another in Iraq.
James Kocierz, 22, has been in the Army for one year and been on a tour of duty in Iraq.
Alan Rogerson, 18, has been the army for six months and his first tour of duty will be in Afghanstan next year.