Soldier 'broken' by roadside bomb set for multi-marathon challenge

Del Sullivan, former soldier for the Royal Anglian Regiment

Del Sullivan, former soldier for the Royal Anglian Regiment and was injured by an IED explosion in Afghanistan. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Del Sullivan's life changed in the flash of a roadside bomb in Afghanistan 16 years ago.

The IED smashed three of his vertebrae, leaving him "mentally and physically broken", and barely able to walk.

But today, the former Royal Anglian Regiment soldier is set to embark on a challenge that is almost a miracle - walking seven marathons for the charity that changed his life.

Mr Sullivan, from Sprowston, is walking the seven marathons in seven days to raise funds for the On Course Foundation, which uses golf to help wounded veterans.

Del Sullivan and team at Barnham Broom Golf Club.

Del Sullivan and team at Barnham Broom Golf Club. - Credit: Del Sullivan

The On Course Foundation supported him through the recovery from his injuries that had left him physically and mentally broken.

Del Sullivan on the road as part of his seven marathons in seven days  in aid of the On Course Foundation.

Del Sullivan on the road as part of his seven marathons in seven days in aid of the On Course Foundation. - Credit: Del Sullivan


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He said: “I could barely walk unassisted for 100 metres. I met them at a recovery centre in Colchester and I went on a few of their free day events and I went from strength to strength after every event. 

“This is to pay back what they have done for me. There are plenty of others who also need their help in the future.”

Del Sullivan on the road as part of his seven marathons in seven days  in aid of the On Course Foundation.

Del Sullivan on the road as part of his seven marathons in seven days in aid of the On Course Foundation. - Credit: Del Sullivan

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The charity introduced him to golf and helped get him his current job as assistant golf operations manager at Barnham Broom Golf Club.

“It completely changed my life. It was tough times for a few years until I found them. I had two young children at home and I felt I couldn’t be a proper father to them, I couldn't play and do stuff with them, so that was tough,” he said.

Del Sullivan with his team during his challenge in aid of the On Course Foundation which he says helped change his life.

Del Sullivan with his team during his challenge in aid of the On Course Foundation which he says helped change his life. - Credit: Del Sullivan

His seven marathons - which he is calling the March Fore Mulligans - all start from different golf courses in Norfolk. He will finish on the 18th hole at Barnham Broom on Good Friday.

He said: “I was due to do the London Marathon last year but obviously due to Covid it was called off and also I was struggling with the running in the training.

“Then I thought I could walk a marathon. And doing seven in seven days seemed like something that would challenge me.”

Del Sullivan and support walker during his charity trek across Norfolk.

Del Sullivan and support walker during his charity trek across Norfolk. - Credit: Del Sullivan 

He has so far raised more than £8,000 via his online fundraiser.

He said: “The support and reaction has been phenomenal. I have been joined by one or two guest walkers and I have my two permanent support walkers, Mick Abbs and Jonah Jones, and the donations have been unbelievable.

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