On Sunday 28 April 2019, Jonny Mortimer-Hendry joined thousands of other runners to take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Except Jonny was not just another runner. Jonny is ex-PARA and he chose to run the 26.2 mile course wearing body armour weighing 22lb to raise money and awareness of Mental Health support available from SUPPORT OUR PARAS.
Jonny writes, “When you go to war you take out a loan, when you return you pay it back. I joined The Parachute Regiment as an Officer, serving within all three Battalions. These included tours in Afghanistan, which I had the privilege of leading Paratroopers through an intense period of conflict. The challenge and camaraderie during this time presented a dichotomy that is hard to explain to those without similar experiences.
“I was involved in incidents that I struggled to process on return to the UK, the remedy I sought was to deploy back into the conflict zone that I’d recently left, catharsis in its most raw delivery. My first tour ended by arriving straight into Birmingham Hospital after flying back from Afghanistan with a seriously injured Paratrooper who died on landing in the UK.
“A few months later, I was back in Helmand. We were low on ammunition, surrounded by a very determined enemy and the man next to me had just been shot in the head. I remember feeling numb, I couldn’t process any more emotional responses. On returning to the UK after the last tour, I missed being away. To the credit of the Regiment’s welfare system, I started to seek help through SUPPORT OUR PARAS with processing my experiences.”
Jonny hopes that by speaking about his experiences, he will help those who are currently suffering in silence to come forward and seek help from the Regiment and the charity that are here to help them. He completed the marathon in an impressed 3h 28 and was still smiling at the finish line!
It is not too late to support Jonny’s fundraising efforts, which have now surpassed £10,000! To donate, please visit his fundraising page.