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Major Phil Packer finishes the London Marathon

11 May 2009

Major Phil Packer finishes the London Marathon

Major Phil Packer who has been walking the London Marathon on crutches, has completed the course after 13 days. Phil, who lost the use of his legs in a rocket attack in Iraq, began the race with 35,000 others on 26 April.

He finished the race around 1230 BST on Saturday 9th May on the Mall, where rower Sir Steve Redgrave presented him with his medal. Phil, who is 36, hopes to raise £1m for soldiers' charity Help For Heroes. His marathon attempt came just a month after he first started using crutches.

Phil has already rowed the English Channel in just over 15 hours and completed a sky-dive as part of his fundraising efforts. Next month Major Packer will attempt to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California, and he intends to complete 4,000 pull-ups over a series of days in order to reach his fundraising target.

After completing the course, Phil said: "It feels bitter sweet - I heard the news yesterday that four members of the armed forces were killed in Afghanistan, so I'm thinking about those families."

"I would not be standing here but for the work of the doctors and nurses that have looked after me and the reason for doing this is to raise £1m for them."

On crossing the finish line he thanked the public for all their support.

He said: "I’ve walked 52,400 steps and somebody has walked with me every step of the way, be it a dinner lady, a London taxi driver or a Metropolitan Police officer. I’ve had time to talk to people and have conversations, people have really opened up about their feelings about the Services and it has been humbling."

When planning to attempt walking the 26 miles and 385 yards of the marathon course Maj Packer was advised by doctors not to walk more than two miles a day, but he has said how lucky he feels to have any mobility back.

Earlier in the week he said he had realised over the course of the fortnight that the best way to complete the daily two miles was "to go as quickly as possible really for a couple of hours in the morning, and then a few more after quite a big break in the afternoon."

At the end of his two miles on Friday, the penultimate day of his race, he went to the Houses of Parliament as a guest of shadow defence secretary Dr Liam Fox.

He said: "Like the other thousands of fundraisers who support Help for Heroes, I have reasons for feeling so passionate about this charity."

"While in hospital I really needed something to pull me through some very dark and lonely days - Help for Heroes has done this and really helped me cope with what has happened."

If you would like to find out more about Phil and his challenges, or to donate on his just giving site, please click here to be taken to his website.