Falklands veteran Simon Weston backs islands’ new ultra marathon to showcase unspoilt land

The Falklands Ultra is a 100-mile ultra marathon event is scheduled for April 9-19, 2020, with a maximum of 200 places available – and organisers Andy Hodgson, 43, and former RAF engineering officer Stuart Edmondson, 44, have already sold ten percent of the tickets. The course will take competitors on a rugged and evocative journey around East Falkland which will test their powers of endurance to the max, starting at Goose Green – scene of probably most famous battle of the 1982 war – and finishing in the capital of Stanley, often referred to as Port Stanley. Former Welsh Guardsman Simon, 58, who famously suffered terrible injuries when the ship he was on, RFA Sir Galahad, was bombed by Argentinian jets during the conflict, is helping to promote the event.

He told Express.co.uk: “If you like doing ultra marathons it’s a great idea!

“It’s a tough old place to go – the weather can alternate very very quickly and that in itself creates its own problems with wind.

“You can have every season in an hour down there.

“I think it is a wonderful, beautiful, virtually unspoiled place. The only spoiling we’ve had there has been the war really.

“The names are very evocative to those people over there and those people who followed it religiously, which a lot of people did.”

Simon who has visited the islands on a total of nine occasions since the war added: “If there was an opportunity for me to go over to witness it that would be wonderful although the trouble is getting the time because it’s a hell of a long way away.

“But if you’re an ultra marathon runner, this will be one of the biggest tests you will ever find.

“The amateur could do it – but you’d have to be properly prepared, same as for any ultra marathon really.

“They are really, really gruelling and it is for the super-fit and the super-motivated.”

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An event held at Falklands House last month to celebrate the launch of a new LATAM flight from Santiago in Chile to Mount Pleasant doubled up as a bid to market the islands as a tourist destination – and Simon said the remote archipelago was well worth a visit.

He explained: “If you are into the wilderness and seeing wildlife and seeing it unspoilt, and being able to sit amongst penguins in penguin colonies I would strongly recommend the islands.

“It’s a place where you go and solitude is all around you.”

Mr Hodgson told Express.co.uk said the Falklands was a place of “enormously untapped potential”, and would serve as an ideal backdrop for a sporting event with the potential to test some of the world’s greatest athletes.

He said: “Goose Green, Tumbledown – these places already exist in the collective psyche of the British people.

“This will give people an excuse to go and see them for themselves.

Mr Hodgson said the list price for a ticket is £5,450 per person including flights, accommodation, most meals, race entry, daytime activities (penguin watching, whale watching, battlefield tours, rock climbing, sea kayaking with seals, etc).

Until the end of March, a discount of £200 applies.

Any competitor can use the Ultra as a platform to raise funds and awareness for their favourite cause, but the organisers directly support five charities aligned with their ethos, namely:

  •  Falklands Veterans Foundation
  •  South Atlantic Medal Association
  •  DEBRA (Simon Weston is the president)
  •  Sailors’ Society
  •  The Falkland Islands Overseas Games Association

For more details, click here. To book a ticket, visit http://falklandsultra.com/enter

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