British Serviceman Uses Afghanistan Leave To Run London Marathon

April 19, 2009 at 7:35 pm

This was spotted in the Daily LabourGraph but, this being a blog with a military twist, it deserves another airing. We read:

“A British serviceman currently on active service in Afghanistan is to use his five days’ leave in the UK to run the London Marathon.

Flt Lt Michael O’Hara is undertaking the gruelling 26 mile run to raise money for The Royal British Legion, which supports veterans of the conflict he is engaged in.

And while other marathon runners will be preparing for April 26 by jogging around their local park, Flt Lt O’Hara will do so by actively defending Kandahar Air Field in south-west Afghanistan from enemy fighters.

As Britain’s main airbase in the country, Kandahar is even busier than London Gatwick and sees thousands of soldiers fly in daily as well as housing 12,000 multinational personnel.

Flt Lt O’Hara is one of the 144 members of the Queens Colour Squadron (63 Squadron RAF Regiment) who took over the task of guarding the base in February.

He decided to enrol in the marathon to celebrate his 30 years in the RAF Regiment, the ground fighting force of the RAF which protects the British Armed Forces’ airbases around the world.

Explaining his decision to take part over email from Afghanistan, Flt Lt O’Hara wrote: “My time in the Armed Forces has made me aware of the important work the legion does for those whose lives have been damaged by the realities of war. It’s great to have the opportunity to show my support for the work they do with the service community.

“I will be on my R&R from operations in Afghanistan but am looking forward to the challenge that the marathon offers. There won’t be much time for relaxing, as I have to fly back to Afghanistan a couple of days later.”

To sponsor Flt Lt O’Hara, visit or send a cheque to The Royal British Legion, Haig House, 199 Borough High Street, London SE1 1AA.

Whether St Crispin’s boots may or may not have made contact with Afghan soil is not for TheEye to reveal but there is a cheque already in the post from here. He might be RAF but some of them appear to have a few redeeming features, St. C.