I’m Chris Thrall, a former Royal Marines Commando. In this incredibly insightful podcast I chat to former Special Air Service Trooper Colin Maclachlan about his career in the Special Forces and working alongside Ant Middleton, Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox, Oliie Ollerton and Billy Billingham on the hit Channel 4 TV show SAS Who Dares Wins.
Colin explained the difference between the SAS, Navy SEALS, Delta Force and the Special Boat Service, ‘SBS’, and their various military roles.
In addition to Operation Barras and HAHO and HALO skydiving, we discussed the current debate highlighted by former SAS soldier Rusty Firmin, who helped plan the Iranian Embassy hostage rescue during the 1980 siege of whether the shouting and swearing on the show is realistic or TV planning. Plus how celebrities like DJ Leon Rolle, Countryfile’s Helen Skelton, Jack Maynard of YouTube fame, boxer Tony Bellew, former footballer Josh Fashanu, Anthea Turner, Brendan Cole, Nikki Sanderson, radio DJ Yasmin Evans and Paralympian Lauren Steadman would fare in reality
My name is Chris Thrall. I’m an author, adventurer and former Royal Marines Commando (link to my bio ). Last year I ran an ultramarathon a day from John O’Groats to Land’s End. This year, on September 8th 2019, I will complete a quadruple ironman distance triathlon.
That’s a 9.6-mile swim, a 450-mile cycle and a 104-mile run – in seven days
I will be highlighting the alarming rate of veterans suicide and raising vital funds for Rock 2 Recovery, a veterans’ mental health charity.
A quadruple ironman distance triathlon will present quite a challenge. I’m not a natural swimmer. The furthest I’ve ever cycled is fifty miles. I’ve not run more than four miles in training as I’m in constant chronic pain from degenerative spine damage and a host of other injuries. But no matter what hardship I endure, it will never be as much as some of our veterans are going through.
So, how can you help?
- You can cheer me on at Plymouth’s lido pool on Sunday 8th September from 9am onwards or cycle around Yelverton Aerodrome and Burrator reservoir with me on Monday through to Thursday
- You can a make small donation or share a social media post
- You can learn about the challenges some of us veterans face by reading my memoirs
- You can support my charity and mental health work via the Patreon platform for only £2 per month. For that you get an invite to my annual talk and after party, a free life-coaching video every month and electronic copies of my books
I’ll post all the relevant links below.
And I’ll see you at the finish line – thank you.
Donate at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/QuadIronman
Motivational Speaking: https://greatbritishspeakers.co.uk/speakers/chris-thrall/
Chris Thrall’s bio and photos: https://christhrall.com
Support my work on Patreon for only £2 per month: https://patreon.com/ChrisThrall
This was a question posed in a blog title by an writer friend, Andrew Carter. Andrew is a great writer, one of my favourites, but it was one of the article’s replies I thought could be of support to today’s battle-weary writers. It was by Don A. Singletary. I’ll post links to the article and authors below.
It is easy to see you are a determined, a talented communicator, and have the rarest of human virtues — to be honest with your readers and yourself at the same time. That’s a great lineup. You covered a great many topics that regularly walk through the minds of all writers I think. The best thing about being a writer is that it is a solo occupation, and the worst thing about being a writer is that it is a solo occupation. A few days ago, I read a post that held a few quotes by famous writers; reading your words reminded me of some of these:
Downhill from Here
An upbeat account of a ‘downhill’ challenge
This gem of a read has interest for everyone. It will appeal to those who have made a five-kilometre jog the limit of their running experience as well as those aspiring to run distance – particularly the length of the country itself. Those who enjoy living their adventures vicariously from the comfort of an armchair and who may have never given the sport a second thought will also appreciated its page-turning grip.
A rich vein of wonderful and quirkily descriptive English flows from Gavin’s Scottish pen like a seasoned wordsmith. He places you so firmly into his running shoes that as someone in preparation to complete the challenge myself I was actually a little disappointed – because thanks to Gavin’s exciting, detailed and inclusive narrative I feel like I’ve run it already and have to do it all again! In truth, alongside Gavin’s clever observations, ever-present sense of humour and self-deprecating wit, there’s a wealth of winning detail, from planning and navigating the route, to booking accommodation, liaising with support vehicles, which kit to take and what to fuel your body with.
‘Downhill from Here’ is not pitched to the wannabe-macho somewhat naïve audience that lap up over-hyped nonsense. You won’t see our ‘hero’ surmount impossible odds or breakthrough a superhuman-pain threshold and the barriers of endurance while achieving a cheering mass of mere mortal followers struggling to keep up with his momentous pace in the Rocky Balboa-style. Gavin not only tells you of his personal history, shortcomings and motivation but also – and quite often! – how not to go about running from John O’ Groats to Land’s End. Candidly, he retells how he loses his way on many occasions, which has you shivering on top of a Pennine Peak clad in a pair of shorts with him or up to your neck, camera equipment held aloft, attempting to ford a bitterly cold river. You can expect the police and the goodwill of strangers, hikers, pub landlords and farmers to help our protagonist on his way on more than one occasion.
And how delighted was I to find that after running with Gavin for less than half a day (when his 1117-mile route passed twenty miles from my home) and being treated to a meal for my efforts, he went on to include a couple of pages about my own life story along with a photo which makes for a great souvenir. Gavin is honest and generous, an accomplished writer (and filmmaker) and a credit to the long-distance or ‘ultra’ running community. This book makes for a seminal text with respect to ‘running’ that most British of British endeavours, the JOGTLE.
Chris Thrall is an adventurer and author of the memoir “Eating Smoke: One Man’s Descent into Crystal Meth Psychosis in Hong Kong’s Triad Heartland”
“Like Jack Reacher? You’re gonna love The Trade.” RTHK
“Original, thrilling and extremely clever …” Time
Former Navy SEAL Hans Larsson arrives on Cape Verde to retrieve his daughter’s body from a sunken yacht. But in a frightening turn of events, he uncovers the island’s dark secret, the Trade. In his role as special operative, Hans employs the Concern’s covert global reach and sophisticated technology to expose a vile chain leading all the way to Washington.
Just a quick intro to my A Hans Larsson Novel book series – the video explains it all and is worth watching for avid readers of books and up-and-coming authors. It’s day 2 of the series launch with The Drift and The Trade and we are already hitting the bestseller categories on Amazon and the five-star reviews are pouring in. Very rewarding after 3 years hard work.
Here’s the blurb for The Drift
“Following the death of his wife and son, Hans Larsson buys a yacht named Future, intending to sail across the Atlantic with his young daughter Jessica. En route they meet Penny, a seasoned English skipper, who joins them as crew, and the larger-than-life Marcel, a Dutch art dealer hiding a secret, along with a stash of drugs on his vintage boat. Battling storms, sharks and pirates, Hans and Jessica experience the adventure of a lifetime, until fate intervenes to leave them fighting for survival on an ocean less perilous than the mind . . .”
“Among the best of the newcomers” The Star
“From the shores of Maine to a cannabis farm in Morocco and a production line in Japan, The Drift will have you frantically turning pages and wondering how the hell it will end.” Bestselling author, Mark Time
The Trade is the second book in the series and I’m very happy with the clever follow-up!
Here are the Amazon UK links:
Here are the Amazon US links:
Here’s a talk I recorded about the making of the series:
Thank you for reading!
Thank you very much to Sid Kali, US film director, for inviting me to be interviewed for The Next Big Thing. Check out Sid’s work here at Slice of Americana Films Indie Entertainment.
I guess I better answer some questions!
Not too many Royal Marines end up in crystal meth psychosis and working for the Hong Kong triads – I think that’s enough!
On next week’s Blog Hop please check out what the following Writers have to offer:
Keith McMullen – Author of How to Please the Opposite Sex
Jane Houng – Author of Bloodswell
Chris Thrall advises people on how to quit drugs
By AMY JONES The Sun
WHEN handsome young Marine Chris Thrall left the Forces to move to Hong Kong, he expected to make his fortune.
But within months he was homeless, alone and fighting an enemy more dangerous than anything he faced serving his country — crystal meth.
Chris almost lost his sanity and his life after becoming addicted to crystal meth, also known as ice. Now he supports others how to quit drugs and has written a bestselling book, Eating Smoke, about his experience.
Click HERE to read about how Chris’s life was before he quit drugs and showed others how to quit drugs.
He says: “I loved my time in the Marines and the challenges that came with each day. But looking back, it was nothing compared to what I faced at the height of my addiction to crystal meth.”
Sadly, Chris is one of a growing number of the drug’s victims.
Meth is twice as addictive as heroin and more damaging to health than crack cocaine.
After ravaging communities across Asia, Australia and the US, it is now on Britain’s streets, sold for as little as £10 a gram — which is enough to keep a user on a permanent high for nine days.
Chris, from Plymouth, never dabbled in drugs during his time in the Royal Marine Commandos. He joined up at 18 and served seven years, including stints in Northern Ireland, before quitting to launch a marketing firm in Asia.
He said: “I loved being a Marine. I was doing something for my country and earning better money than friends who’d gone to university. But I got involved in an exciting business venture and went to Hong Kong to make my millions.”
Unfortunately, the venture failed and his company went bust.
Chris, now 42, says: “It was hard. I had racked up a lot of debt and suddenly I was jobless.”
He found a job at a Hong Kong firm marketing computer chips after answering an ad.
A few months after joining, Chris walked in on a colleague in the toilets smoking meth, which can also be snorted or injected.
He recalls: “He offered me some and I thought, ‘Why not? How harmful can it be if he’s smoking it in the middle of the day?’ I took two puffs.
“Back at my computer, I suddenly felt this rush. It was like nothing I’d ever felt. I knew I was addicted straight away. The next day I wanted more.”
At first crystal meth — scientific name methamphetamine — made Chris feel fantastic and there was no shortage of dealers.
He says: “I could pick it up on the way home from work. It was as easy as buying milk.”
But things soon got out of control.
Chris said: “I was getting nowhere in the office so I got a job as a nightclub doorman in Wan Chai — the red light district. I thought if I worked at night, I wouldn’t be able to take drugs.
“But that soon went out the window. My addiction was life consuming. I was on it constantly. It overloaded my brain and I began to lose the plot. You’re incredibly tired so you hallucinate. On top of that, psychosis starts to develop. I found myself wondering how to quit drugs.”
Chris Thrall is the author of Eating Smoke: One Man’s Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong’s Triad Heartland– a bestselling true story. He now gives his advice on how to quit drugs.
Chris will shortly be writing a post on how to quit drugs
A former drug user publishes his memoir of working for the 14K Hong Kong triads
In the 1990s, former Royal Marine Chris Thrall found himself being sucked into a downward spiral in Hong Kong, when his work as a Wanchai bouncer drew him into the world of triads and crystal meth addiction. Now 42, off drugs and pursuing a new life, Thrall reveals how he saw the end — and found a future — in his autobiography “Eating Smoke.”
CNNGo: Considering your addiction, how were you able to remember things so clearly?
Chris Thrall: Using crystal meth and the psychosis I experienced didn’t affect my memory. I think when you’re young and finding yourself in the world –- especially in such a memorable setting as Hong Kong -– you remember an awful lot, particularly the pertinent things like relationships you had with people and the crazy things you get up to.
“Eating Smoke” is a collection of those memories. I also experienced a great deal of highs, lows and trauma. Incidents you don’t forget in a hurry. There’s probably also a lot I don’t remember and probably just as well.