On 22 May, Commander Douggie Ward Royal Navy, Combined Maritime Force’s (CMF) Legal Advisor, along with support from fellow runners from HMS Atherstone attempted to run 100 km to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One and the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

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The runners before the race (l-r POET(ME) Pat Patterson, Cdr Douggie Ward RN, PO(D) Alex Newnes, ET(WE) Scouse Head, LS(D) Si Smyth, Lt Dave Starkey RN, Lt Scott Hamer, Std Cruiky Cruikshank)

This is the third sporting charity event undertaken by Crew 2 aboard HMS Atherstone during their current deployment. Lt Dave Starkey RN, Executive Officer, noted that they are always eager to take up any opportunity to help out. He said: “This is so typical of this crew. I’m proud of the guys, pushing through and getting the job done for such a good cause.”

LS(D) Si Smyth added: “ I wanted to do this as it has just the right kind of craziness! The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) have done a great job supporting us as well as many, many other serving personnel. We were very motivated to help them keep up the good work.”

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The runners setting off in the early evening heat.

Commander Ward explained why he was motivated to organise such a demanding fundraising event. He said: “I enjoy running, in particular endurance events, and I thought that it would be nice to raise funds for a worthwhile charity such as the RNRMC.”

While disappointed they did not complete the full 100 kilometres, they were pleased with their accomplishment. Cdr Ward noted: “The original intent had been for each of us to run 100 km – however, with the extreme heat and humidity, even after dark, we decided on a sensible compromise and stopped around the midway point. It is still an excellent achievement for all who took part.”

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The runners following completion of the run.

By undertaking this challenge, PO Alex Newnes and PO Pat Patterson completed their first ever marathon and ultra-marathon in one sitting. Steward (Std) Sid Cruickshank showed amazing determination and both Lt Scott Hamer and LS(D) Si Smyth demonstrated they are running machines!

Steward Cruiky Cruikshank said: “I’ve never done anything like this before and I just wanted to see how far I got. It was so hot though, I was soaked through from the first lap.”