An RAF serviceman is gearing up for a 450-mile ultra-marathon to thank the two charities which supported he and his wife through several miscarriages last year.
Tom has pledged to complete the challenge in less than 14 days, raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, and Tommy’s.
Based at RAF Brize Norton as a C-17 pilot, Tom plans to begin running the national Three Peaks Challenge on 26 September. He’s due to finish by 9 October, which marks the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week (9-15 October). Happily, he and his wife, Anna, are now expecting their first child later this year.
Flt Lt Tom Mountney said: “I wanted to do something that was arduous and represented the struggle that people who suffer from baby loss go through. There are highs and lows and life can feel relentless, but you just have to break these seemingly insurmountable barriers down into smaller and smaller chunks until you can get over them, one by one.
“This tragic experience has been a huge mental challenge for me, which is exactly the same as running this ultra-marathon: you have to break it down and take it one step at a time.”
The route will see him hit the road for upwards of 12 hours and covering 40-50 miles each day, whatever the weather. He will climb the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – in addition to running between each.
Charlotte Barmby, RAF Benevolent Fund Regional Fundraiser, added: “Tom’s decision to embark on this epic fundraising challenge in the wake of such heart-breaking loss is truly inspiring. Servicemen are notoriously proud and tight-lipped when it comes to talking about their problems, so Tom’s openness about his and Anna’s experience of baby loss is all the more moving.”
So far, Tom has raised almost £4,500 for the two charities. If you would like to support his fundraising efforts, you can donate via his Virgin Money Giving page.
Tom has some previous experience of running consecutive marathons. In 2014, he and two RAF friends ran a mile for every British service person who had died in Afghanistan. At the time, this totalled 453 miles – the equivalent of running just over 17 marathons in as many days. This time round, however, Tom will be aiming to run a similar distance in significantly less time.
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides emotional, financial and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes welfare breaks, grants to help with financial difficulty, specialist advice on benefits and support with care needs, and more.
This year the RAF Benevolent Fund celebrates its 100th anniversary. To mark the centenary, it has launched a campaign aimed at doubling the number of beneficiaries it supports. The Join The Search. Change a Life campaign encourages the public to get thousands of RAF veterans and their families ‘back on the radar’ and, if they need it, accessing support that is rightfully theirs.