Teenage soldier set alight in Iraq petrol bomb attack fights back to fitness by running 126 MARATHONS
A teenage soldier who was set ablaze in a petrol bomb attack in Iraq has battled back to fitness to complete a staggering 126 MARATHONS.
Karl Hinett has covered more than 6,650 miles across five countries from Disneyland Florida to the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire.
Private Hinett, from Dudley, West Mids., was only 19 when he almost died during an operation in Iraq in 2005.
He was inside a Warrior tank which was attacked by rioters during a raid on a jail in Basra to free two undercover soldiers.
An image of him rolling down the front of the tank covered in flames as he escaped from the tank made headlines around the world.
While the other four soldiers in the tank escaped serious injury, Private Hinett received 37 per cent burns.
He underwent five years of gruelling skin grafts and operations at Selly Oak Hospital – now replaced by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
After being discharged from hospital he set himself the challenge of running an astonishing 200 marathons by the time he turns 30.
He has now run a remarkable 126 marathons in seven years, including events at the North and South poles.
He has attempted to climb Mount Everest with other wounded servicemen, training for the trek with Prince Harry.
And he has already completed an incredible 126 marathons – running one at least every week and has raised over #50,000 for the burns unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Karl said: “The hospital gave me life so I intend to use that life to give back to them as long as possible.
“It helped my recovery socially. They always made me feel like there was nothing to feel afraid of.
“Burns injuries scar you for life and some people are scared of going out, but the hospital helped me prepare mentally.
“Whenever I was admitted to hospital, it was never scary. They welcomed me and it was just like catching up with friends.
“It really helped. The people there saved my life but the injury goes on for years, and the work the hospital did helped me get back on my feet.
“Sometimes I would be in for weeks. Operations might last an hour or 12 hours – they really put the hours in on me.
“If it wasn’t for them, I would not have had the confidence and motivation to live my life and to push myself on these challenges.
“During the recovery period, I met lots of soldiers and other people who have been injured outside the military, and you end up sharing stories.
“You have also got to try to realise that the negatives don’t last forever. You have to move on.
“I’m training to be a light aircraft pilot. It’s really exciting but I will still carry on running and mountain climbing.
“I think the most difficult run I’ve ever done was a seven day Ultra Marathon in the Amazonian rain forest back in 2012.
“It’s basically seven marathons in seven days, and by the end my hands and feet were infected, it was so tough.
“Wherever and whenever I can, I will still raise money for the charity. My aim now is to run 200 marathons by the time I’m 30 but I think I’ll do more.”
Karl has taken some time out from running to plan his wedding later this month artist girlfriend, Beth, 27.
He said: “I can’t wait. I proposed last summer while we were travelling in Japan.
“We’ve been together for about three years. It’s another step forward in my life along with the fundraising.
“There’s so much to plan but we have received incredible support from our family and friends.
“We are both quite active so we aren’t just going to go on honeymoon for a beach holiday.
“But we will make a last minute decision on where to go which will be exciting.”
After the attack in September 2005, Karl was rushed to a field hospital in Basra, where he was put into a medically induced coma.
Karl woke up 10 days later in Birmingham’s Selly Oak Hospital. He had suffered 37 per cent burns.
He spent the next five years undergoing over 50 operations to repair his scorched body.
In honour of his remarkable achievements, Karl has been nominated for a star-studded bravery award ceremony being held next month – the day after he competes in his 127th marathon in Kent.
Mike Hammond from the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, who nominated Karl, says: “He has raised many tens of thousands of pounds which have helped many others suffering from burns.
“He is an inspiration to all the staff at the hospital who would be delighted to see him win a Pride of Birmingham Award.”