Grantham soldier completes challenge of walking 30 marathons in 30 days with emotional finish
A soldier has completed a gruelling challenge of walking a marathon distance every day for 30 days, raising nearly £6,000 for charity in the process.
Private Richard Lake, of the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks in Grantham, completed his 30th marathon walk yesterday at Price & Sons Funeral Directors in Castlegate, with family and friends there to celebrate his achievement.
The challenge is the first of its kind in the world, as Richard completed the 26.2 mile walks with a Bergen rucksack weighing 28kg on his back.
Richard was inspired to take up the challenge after his close family friend Simon Auckland suffered a life-changing injury in 2015 which ended his military career and permanently changed his life.
Many people, including Richard's children, Davey and Maisie, alongside other family and friends, gathered at the finishing line outside of Price & Sons to celebrate and congratulate him for completing the challenge.
Richard said: “My emotions were through the roof. I wasn’t expecting to have that many people there. When I came onto the top of Castlegate and saw everyone there. That was it, I was just overcome with emotions.
“To be honest, it was hard to take in. I couldn’t believe all of that was for me. It was amazing."
Having sent evidence of his challenge to Guinness World Records, Richard can expect a certificate for his challenge within 20 weeks.
Although he described his feet and legs as "sore", Richard is still going for a walk today, albeit more casual than his previous 30. He also stressed that the mental challenges posed during the marathon walks were as difficult as the physical demands.
Richard continued: "Believe it or not, when you’re walking with people, it goes so fast, because you’re talking to people. You’re not focussing on the next leg, you’re chatting away and before you know it, you’re finished.
“When you’re on your own, it’s completely different. It’s mentally challenging. Because you’re on your own, you can’t help but focus on the time and how far you’ve gone. Your mind starts playing tricks on you and you really have to dig deep.
“Doing this challenge, I now know more about myself than I did before."
Throughout the 30 days, Richard mostly had good weather, but did battle through hot sunshine, as well as heavy rain showers and even hailstorms.
He added: "You’ve got to focus even more when it’s hot. If you don’t drink enough water, you get sun stroke. If you don’t have sun cream, you’ll get burnt."
Richard's actions have not only raised thousands of pounds, but he has also inspired many. Richard attempted to commit suicide in 2016 and joined the army in the same year.
Recently, he was contacted by someone who had always dreamed of joining the army, but had also suffered with mental health problems, and didn't realise that he could join if that was the case.
He added: “That hit me quite hard because, as well as doing this, I’m inspiring people to do other things. It’s quite overpowering sometimes when you sit down and think about it."
Jason Price, of Price & Sons, also runs Detecting for Veterans, and was integral to the challenge going ahead.
Due to army policy, they could not pay Richard for the month while he completed the challenge, so Price & Sons paid Richard's wage for the month while he undertook the fund-raiser.
“Without Jason, this wouldn’t have happened and that man deserves all the credit. He’s amazing. What he does for the local community is fantastic. He’s a legend in my eyes."
Richard and Jason toasted a glass of port yesterday evening at the finish line.
Richard continued: “I think the people of Grantham are absolutely fantastic. All the generosity and support that I’ve had. We’ve found ourselves in terrible times because of the pandemic, yet everyone is just so generous.
“I’m walking down the canal, people are giving me a fiver, people are giving me food. It’s amazing. The people of Grantham need a massive thank you.
“The highlight has got to be yesterday, finishing [the challenge]. Walking down Castlegate being cheered in by all those people. That’s the highlight of it all for me. It felt like a weight had just been lifted and seeing my dad was amazing."
To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Richard-lake-5