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Soldier injured in grenade attack takes on marathon effort

Army Veteran Christopher Unwin, from Rotherham in South Yorkshire, will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon on behalf of SSAFA, the UK's oldest Armed Forces charity.
Army Veteran Christopher Unwin, from Rotherham in South Yorkshire, will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon on behalf of SSAFA, the UK's oldest Armed Forces charity.
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EIGHT years ago, soldier Christopher Unwin was injured by a grenade while on a routine patrol in Afghanistan, leaving him with life-altering injuries.

But on Sunday, he will join thousands of runners raising money for charity at the London Marathon.

Mr Unwin, from Rotherham, served in the infantry for 13 years, at various locations including Kosovo, Sierra Leon, Northern Ireland, Iraq, and Beirut.

But, he says, civilian life has felt like “a battle of its own kind”. He left the forces two years after suffering traumatic injuries in the grenade attack, including severe damage to his spine, heavy hearing loss and left him suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

He now works from Openreach, which has raised more than £100,000 for SSAFA, which provides support for the forces, veterans and their families, since 2015. His marathon effort this weekend has already raised more than £1,350 for the charity.

Looking back on the day he was injured, Mr Unwin said: “In a job that requires you to be fearless, focused and detached, I couldn’t help but think ‘Could this be the day it all ends?’. During my military career I have seen so many horrors of war and I can admit that these have had a great effect on my mental health.

“Since leaving the Army in 2012, life has felt like a battle of its own kind. I have re-lived the feelings of terror I experienced in combat and have struggled to adapt to civilian life. I have no regrets serving my country however, I want to help more veterans like myself to feel supported returning to civilian life.”

He added: “SSAFA provides help for the military community with the challenges of returning back to civilian life, supporting those who struggle with the transition and providing hope for the future at a time when you need it most.”

Director of fundraising at SSAFA, Jonathan Sandall, said: “Every mile that Christopher runs will make a difference to the lives of our forces and their families.”