Former soldier marks 50th birthday with five half marathons for charity

A former soldier who spent 24 years in the army is marking his fiftieth birthday with a series of half marathons for Parkinson’s UK and mental health charity Mind.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:43 am
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:53 am

Chris Davis is not, he says, ‘a natural runner’. But, after 24 years in the Military Stabilisation Support Group, conducting humanitarian work all over the world, he’s no stranger to grit, determination or hard work.

“I’ve never done a marathon or half-marathon before and I was just sitting there one day thinking about it, wanting to do something for my birthday,” he said. “I went through the usual list: ‘have a BBQ, I’ll get drunk, forget about it half way through the night and suffer through the next few days’. I wanted to do something different.”

Instead, he decided to run five half marathons in five days- a distance of 65 and a half miles- raising money for Parkinson’s UK and mental health charity Mind

Chris Davis in his army uniform

Starting out early yesterday morning (May 27), Mr Davis, who now lives in Bognor Regis, plans to run every day until May 31. Afterwards, he’ll mark his final run with a celebration at North Bersted’s famous Pink Pub.

The veteran was originally planning to raise money for the armed forces community, with a particular focus on stress, PTSD and mental health, but eventually decided to broaden his scope.

He said: “I was thinking about it and I realised everyone’s suffering at the minute, what with Covid, so I pushed it to Mind, because I know they do a lot of PTSD work with the military.”

Mr Davis’ decision to raise money for Parkinson’s UK was every bit as personal: “Unfortunately, I’ve got an aunt who suffered from Parkinson’s, my partner’s father has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and we’ve got a close friend who got hit with Parkinson’s in his 50s. So I wanted to do something for that as well, since it’s so close to home.”

Chris Davis is running five half marathons for charity

Now that he’s started out, Mr Davis, who has already raised more than £2,000, is genuinely enjoying the challenge: “I really enjoyed it. I set off at five o’clock. It was a beautiful morning, it was still, the sun was out, the sea was calm. It was just beautiful,” he said.

To find out more about Mr Davis’ challenge and to donate to his fundraiser, click here or go to www.justgiving.com and search for ‘Mental health and Parkinson’.