7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days - Ibi and Luke do it for the DNRC

10 February 2017

7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days – Ibi and Luke do it for the DNRC

Two former Servicemen have completed a mammoth challenge to run seven marathons, on seven continents, in seven days – in aid of the new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC).

Starting in Antarctica, where the wind chill lowered temperatures to -30°, they continued to run marathons day after day in Punta Arenas (Chile), Miami (USA), Madrid (Spain), Marrakech (Morocco), Dubai (UAE) and Sydney (Australia).

Luke and Ibi were running to raise awareness and funds for the DNRC being built near Loughborough and where the Defence facility is scheduled to open in summer 2018.  Both are ambassadors for the DNRC.

The DNRC was the brainchild of the 6th Duke of Westminster and work started on site in late 2015. More than two thirds of the £300m to construct the Defence facility has been raised and Luke and Ibi are supporting efforts to complete the fundraising and finish the build.

The National element of the DNRC is following on a later timeframe and the programme team is currently exploring the significant opportunity with Government.

Ibi and Luke were both injured whilst serving on the front line and underwent rehabilitation at Headley Court.  Ibi lost part of his right arm after serious injury in Iraq.  Luke was badly injured by an
IED in Afghanistan.

Proving that ‘it’s all about ability’, Luke, who served as a paratrooper in the RAF, averaged 3:09:32, finishing 3rd in the entire competition despite the damage sustained to his left leg in Afghanistan in 2011.  

In successfully completing the challenge with an average time of 4:05:27, Ibi became the first amputee to complete the event.  Formerly a Captain in the Yorkshire Regiment, Ibi returned to active service in Iraq after going through rehabilitation for injuries sustained when his vehicle was hit by roadside bombs in Iraq.  

The event was coordinated by World Marathon Challenge and involved participants from all across the globe.  The first marathon started on Union Glacier in Antarctica on Monday 23 January and the challenge culminated in Sydney as Luke and Ibi crossed the line late into the night on Sunday 29 January.

Upon completing the challenge, Ibi said:

“What a week!  Dubai was incredibly tough due to the sheer heat – I struggle with those kind of temperatures due to the amputation and the scarring, but I got through it.  Whenever I was struggling, I kept going for the others out there suffering more than we did, just now and in the future.  Those guys are the ones who need this new centre. 

“It may not seem like it, but I was lucky to do this!  For Luke and I to complete this shows that rehab works – but it needs to be better.  That’s why I did this crazy challenge – to get word out about the DNRC for current and future Servicemen and women.  We need a world-leading facility for trauma rehabilitation, and that’s what the DNRC can and will be – with the help of the public.

“Some people don’t realise that’s what this challenge is to raise money for.  We’ve pushed our bodies to the limit and beyond over these seven days – all we ask is the Great British public to make a small donation so that other injured Service personnel out there can push their own boundaries.”

Luke said:

“I’m delighted to have completed such a huge challenge.  The past seven days have been as tough mentally as they were physically – the conditions are brutal when you’re running across seven continents, but all the pain was worth it, knowing what a great cause the DNRC is.

“When you are out there running you have hours to think when it gets tough – and it really did get tough – about how fortunate you are to put one foot in front of the other.  Some Servicemen and women aren’t so lucky after their injuries, and seeing the trauma people go through makes me determined to help raise funds for the DNRC.

“It’s an amazing feeling to get this done for current troops and future forces.  I’m honoured to help complete the build of the DNRC, which anyone can do by visiting invincible.org.uk to donate to our efforts – raising money for a world class rehab centre is what this was all about.”

More information on the challenge is available at http://invincible.org.uk/ and full information on the DNRC as well as latest flyover footage of the construction at https://www.thednrc.org.uk/ 

Anyone wanting to support Ibi and Luke in their amazing effort can donate via https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/invincible

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Contacts for further information:

Ben Copithorne or Emily Barnes at Camargue on 020 7636 7366 or dnrc@camargue.uk