Veterans

Gurkha Veteran Reunited With Daughter After Hotel Room Marathon Challenge

Former Gurkha officer Ash Alexander-Cooper ran 32 miles in his Sydney hotel room, where he quarantined, before seeing his daughter.

A former Gurkha officer has been reunited with his daughter after a year apart and a trip around the world.

British Army veteran Ash Alexander-Cooper travelled to Sydney, Australia, to see his 12-year-old girl.

Due to the coronavirus restrictions in the country, he was required to undergo 14 days' quarantine in a hotel room, where he ran a full marathon, plus a few extra miles, for charity.

The veteran completed about 5,667 lengths and 11,334 turns in the 30ft space, raising crucial funds for 'The Tommy Club', part of the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) charity.

The RBLI provides employment and tailored welfare support to veterans and their families, and assisted living for those who need it.

Ash has now raised more than £5,000 for the cause, having also run a further six miles "just for fun" on top of the 26-mile marathon distance.

The former officer was shot in both legs, survived a roadside bomb and a helicopter crash during a 22-year service career in which he became one of the British Army's most experienced operational specialists.

Following his years of service, Ash became a leading mental health advocate, inspired to take on the hotel room marathon challenge after a recent RBLI survey highlighted the damaging effects the pandemic has had on his fellow military veterans.

The survey found that one in 10 veterans feel their mental health has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with more than 30% identifying social isolation and loneliness as the biggest contributing factor.

Ash said: "I'm very aware of the trauma and losses I've witnessed, but I'm also aware of just how incredibly lucky I am that my experiences have not taken too much of a toll on me since leaving the Armed Forces.

"My wounds remain primarily physical rather than mental.

"That sadly cannot be said for all military veterans... it's vital we, as a nation, do all we can to show our support."

Cover image: Gurkha veteran Ash Alexander-Cooper is reunited with his daughter in Sydney (Picture: Ash Alexander-Cooper OBE Twitter).