London Marathon: Ex-paratrooper beats backpack record

Mike Ellicock Mike Ellicock has raised more than £20,000 for the Parachute Regiment Charity

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An ex-paratrooper has broken a world record at the London Marathon by running with a 40lb (18kg) pack in three hours 25 minutes and 21 seconds.

Mike Ellicock was blown up on a special forces operation to save UK hostages in Sierra Leone, only surviving because he was wearing body armour.

The 37-year-old, from Lewes, East Sussex, has raised more than £20,000 for the Parachute Regiment Charity.

He was carrying a weight equivalent to a para's equipment in a rucksack.

Serving as a platoon commander in 1 Para, Mr Ellicock was flown to Sierra Leone in September 2000 to take part in the rescue of five soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment taken hostage by a rebel militia.

His unit was caught in what Mr Ellicock describes as a Vietnam-style exchange of red and green tracer bullets.

'Worst of wounded'

Mr Ellicock, who now runs an education charity, was wounded in his arms, fingers and legs and had to be evacuated from the scene by helicopter.

His mother was told: "One man is dead, 11 are wounded. I am sorry, Mike is the worst of the wounded. We know nothing more."

Mr Ellicock said: "Luckily, we had decided that we were going to wear body armour and helmets because we were going in at first light and it was still quite cool.

"Usually the heat wouldn't allow for that, and it saved my life for sure."

One member of the SAS was killed, but all the hostages made it out alive.

The previous Guinness World Record for running the marathon carrying an equivalent weight was set by a Japanese athlete at three hours and 42 minutes at the Tokyo Marathon in February.

The record for the London Marathon - four hours and one minute - was held by a Royal Marine.

To make the weight, Mr Ellicock packed a sleeping bag, climbing rope, biology textbook, ankle weights and "random bits of clothing".

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