Pete Alexander completes six endurance races in support of the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund

Pete Alexander served with David in Afghanistan and the Middle East with 19th Regiment Royal Artillery, whom we first met when he joined us in London to complete the 3.2 miles David tragically could not finish.

As a fully qualified Tandem Skydiving Instructor, Pete organised a skydiving fundraising event which raised over £5000 in support of the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund in August 2018.

Since then Pete, who is currently posted in the Middle East, has embarked on a series of endurance races in support of David’s legacy which has included the Amman, Tel Aviv and Wadi Rum Full Moon Desert marathons as well as the Dead to Red Relay Race (275KM) and the Red Sea Half-Marathon.

Most poignantly, Pete was determined to run the London Marathon and we are delighted to announce that he successfully completed this year’s race in an incredible time of three hours and fifty-six minutes.

Pete has very kindly shared his experiences through the following piece:

Two Years on and Still Inspiring

“Dare I say it, one of the most annoying things about Dave is his natural ability to push those around him to take an extra step towards bettering themselves without even realising we’re being pushed.  The recognition of this trait in him defines him as a natural leader; one who we would all rally around without the need for him to jump and down in frustration.  I fell into his trap of bettering myself last year when I was unable to take part in the Virgin London Marathon 2017 due to a posting to the Middle East.  An easy combination of him wanting all his friends and family to take that extra step or go that extra mile in life mixed with the sense of brotherhood towards him and his passion for supporting those who went before him led me to postponing my place in London to 2018, but also adding another 5 events to the list.

London

“It all started with the Amman Marathon in Jordan on October 15th 2017.  In temperatures hitting 29oC, it wasn’t exactly a graceful performance. The premature closure of water aid stations didn’t help and indeed added to frustrations but the determination to finish wasn’t lost.  Severe cramps set in to both calf muscles as I sweated out my body weight in salt. I eventually crawled across the line in an inspiringly disappointing time of 5hrs 22mins. 

“Run Jordan, who had organised the Amman Marathon also hosted the follow on event in Aqaba; The Red Sea Half Marathon held on 7th December 2017.  Being later in the year, it was slightly cooler but being a 4hr drive South, the temperature was still in the 20’s, despite being an early morning race.  Being back at sea level as opposed to the 900m above sea level experienced in Amman was a huge help as the finish line was crossed in 1hr 37mins. Somewhat better than October’s efforts!

“The next event was the first of what I knew were going to be two beasts in the six I had planned; The Dead to Red Relay Race.  Teams consisting of up to 10 people faced the 275km journey from Wadi Mujib at the Dead Sea to the beaches of the Red Sea.  The race commenced at 1600hrs on 8th March 2018 with teams running throughout the night on little to no sleep with the winning team crossing in a time of 13hrs.  14th place out of 28 teams was not an undignified result with a finishing time of 16hrs 32 mins.  A further 16hrs and 32mins was then very quickly pushed out by the entire team but in more of a horizontal position before fellow team members returned to the UK and Abu Dhabi!

Wadi Rum Start.jpg

“It was then back to the marathon distance for the final three events with the next event in Tel Aviv.  The city hosted a fantastic event with a wonderful course, which took in the entire length of the Tel Aviv coastline and through the historic city of Jaffa.  I’m not entirely sure that the stretch through the fish market helped but thankfully those smells were short lived.  As mentioned, Dave’s natural ability to drive us reflected in the way I conducted my training to better myself and I got a new personal best (PB) when I crossed the line in 4hrs 08mins (my original PB was 4hrs 31mins in London 2011); no onset of cramps this time! It still wasn’t good enough though.

“This was it; London. I’d missed out the previous year and it was what this journey for me was all about.  Dave’s inspiration and pushing continued.  I was back in the UK on home soil and I wanted to better my time and I wanted sub 4hrs.  Record temperatures were set to hamper the London Marathon and they didn’t let us down either, hitting the highest ever recorded at 24.1oC. I was comfortable with this. I’d been training and racing in hotter temperatures but complacency wasn’t something I wanted to get on the wrong side of.  We shuffled to the start line and then we were off.  Sadly people were collapsing due to exhaustion with the heat but I wasn’t prepared to let it happen to me.  I wasn’t going to let Dave down.  This had to be done for him and in the best time for me.  The last 3 miles were always going to be hard both physically and emotionally but I crossed in 3hrs 56mins.  It was done. I had my new sub 4hr PB which I wanted so badly, but without losing sight of why I had done it; something that will never be lost.  

“I wasn’t allowed to stop there though.  I still had the sixth event (and second of the two beasts) to complete; the Wadi Rum Full Moon Desert Marathon.  It was just 5 days later. It was also at night. And on sand.  I knew Dave would be settling into his ringside seat with a big bucket of popcorn for this one! In 2014 I had been in Jordan with Dave as his Gunnery Instructor as he took part in Op Cougar.  His jaw had hit the floor with the beauty of the country as did mine and Friday 27th April didn’t let me down as I found myself under the full moon in the desert with 16 other plucky (or stupid) individuals with the towering landscape all around us that had once provided so much solace for TE Lawrence.  I was already tired before I’d even started and within the first six miles, I knew the rest was going to hurt as my legs started letting me know. Again, not a graceful performance but I had already come to terms with my main effort being just to complete it which I did in 6hrs 20mins.  Having achieved a sub 4hr marathon just 5 days before, I wasn’t going to beat myself up! 

“As I sat down at the end of the race (marking the end of the six events I’d promised I’d do) with a bottle of water in one hand and a beer in the other, I looked up to the sky and thanked Dave.  I thanked him for lighting the way with a full moon, thanked him for the spectacular thunderstorm that he’d sent to keep me on my toes, thanked him for being a friend and thanked him for being an inspiration and keeping me going throughout the last 5 months.  He’ll never stop being either a friend or an inspiration and even though I want a break, I’ll keep training and competing.  I guess it’s not a bad thing that he’s so annoying after all.”

We offer our sincere thanks to Pete for his monumental efforts and continued support of David’s legacy and you can donate through his just-giving page

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