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
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: Donate Here
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.
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”