Belfast Telegraph

Former soldier raises over £3k for wounded veterans as he runs home for Christmas

By Sophie Inge

A former soldier has completed an epic 195-mile run from Bath to Belfast in time for Christmas - raising thousands of pounds for wounded veterans in the process.

Adam Conlon, who was a captain in the Royal Artillery, arrived at his parents' home on Wednesday morning after taking the ferry from Liverpool.

"The first five kilometres off the boat were really painful," he said. "I think my body had seen the finish line and decided to shut down a little."

Adam, who now works as an inspirational speaker in Bath, was greeted by his uncle at Belfast City Hall. His uncle then cycled alongside him on to his parents' home in south Belfast.

"There were about 20 people waiting for me outside - including aunts, uncles and cousins who I hadn't been in touch with for ages. It was very emotional," said Adam. "The first thing I did was give a big hug to my fiancee, who flew across on Monday. Then it was straight into my dad's for an Ulster fry to regain all those calories."

It was a tough week for the 36-year-old, who set himself a target of running about 60km a day.

"I think maybe the first day I bit off a little bit more than I could chew - and I was punished for that quite badly on days two and three," he said.

It was the support he received from friends, family and even complete strangers, Adam believes, that helped keep him going.

"There were a lot of dark moments when I was running by myself and in a lot of pain," he said. "But every now and then, emails would come through notifying me that another donation had been made - sometimes from people I didn't even know. It made such a difference."

Along the way, Adam was occasionally joined by members of his family and former Army friends.

"On the second day, I met my sister north of Gloucester; then my brother-in-law joined me near Worcester and cycled alongside me for the rest of the day.

"Then my uncle met me up in Birmingham. They were handing me over like a baton.

"One ex-RAF friend greeted me in the middle of nowhere with a cold beer and a party-bag full of chocolate. I hadn't had a party-bag for about 30 years."

Adam was also joined for a short period by adventurer Sean Conway, who was the first person to cycle, swim and run from Land's End to John O'Groats.

"I also had a really lovely moment when I met two farmers in a pub near Gloucester, where I was trying to get some food. I think there was an accent barrier because I couldn't understand them and I don't think they could understand me," he added.

"But then, just as they were leaving, they both came up to me and shook my hand. Then one of them gave me £10 and said, 'Make sure that goes to your charity'. It restored my faith in humanity."

The Army veteran had raised more than £3,000.

All the money will go to Walking with the Wounded's annual Christmas campaign, Walking Home for Christmas, which helps wounded servicemen and women.

You can donate by following the link on Adam's website www.adamconlon.co.uk.

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