My name’s Chris Thrall. I’m an author, adventurer and former Royal Marines Commando. I’ve explored eighty countries on seven continents and backpacked through all of North, South and Central America. I’ve caught piranhas in the Amazon, swum with bull sharks in Belize, set a world record fire walking and driven a bus from Norway to India and back for charity. I’m a qualified pilot and skydiver and have scuba dived on icebergs in the Antarctic Polar Circle …
But I now I’m asking for your help!
On September 1st 2018 I will be running an ultramarathon a day (an ultramarathon is any distance over a marathon) for 999 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End. I will run solo, unsupported and carrying up to 14 kilos of food, water and camping equipment.
My mission is to raise awareness of ‘under-the-radar’ veterans’ issues, such as mental health, homelessness and the shockingly high rate of suicide. As such, I am supporting the Baton foundation, a non-political, not-for-profit charity staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers.
If you’ve read my memoir ‘Eating Smoke’ you will know I left the forces and ended up homeless in Hong Kong and in severe psychosis from crystal meth addiction. But my struggle began back in the UK, where I spent two years suffering from chronic depression and PTSD. My friends disappeared and I avoided all professional help because the medical community couldn’t understand the mindset and experiences of a former service person.
I was lucky. When I finally crawled out of the darkness, a fellow former marine working for the Royal British Legion stood there ready to help. Following a brother-to-brother chat, he secured me a career development grant and I went on to volunteer my services for free teaching and mentoring streets kids in Africa. In fact, I not only worked in post-war Mozambique but went on to achieve every goal I ever dreamt of, including graduating with a degree in youth work and become a bestselling author. And now I hope to inspire others who are struggling.
I’ve done almost no training for this #999miles challenge, having spent two years in constant pain from degenerative spinal injuries – in fact, my most recent operation was last week. It’s only following four hospital procedures and months of physio that I can run – well, hobble – again. I have a neurological condition called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, a form of brain damage caused by long-term use of opiate medication. As a result, I have slowed-down thinking, limited sleep, constant headaches and spasms in my legs when I’m even slightly dehydrated.
But the clue is in the 999. For no matter what pain and hardship I endure, it will never be as much as some of our veterans are going through. So please help me out …
You can run with me, or donate £5, or simply share this #999miles challenge on social media.
The Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/999miles
Please donate at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/999miles (or type ‘Thrall’ in search bar)
Twitter is: https://twitter.com/ChrisThrall
Instagram is https://instagram.com/Chris.Thrall
I can tell you from personal experience, you will make a difference.