Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 15:40 UK

Wounded veteran finishes London marathon

Major Phil Packer hugs a woman
Maj Phil Packer had a network of supporters along the route

Wounded veteran Maj Phil Packer has finished the London Marathon in just under 26 hours.

The former Army major, 37, who was left paralysed from the waist down by a rocket attack in Iraq in 2008, crossed the line after 25 hours and 55 minutes.

He dedicated each mile to a different charity supporting injured servicemen or young people with disabilities.

The major said that he was "just delighted to be able to share this moment with the young people".

Maj Packer sustained severe spinal cord injuries while on duty in Basra in February 2008.

However, despite his injuries, he set himself the personal challenge of raising £1m for wounded servicemen charity Help for Heroes just a year on.

Although his fundraising efforts have seen him row across the English Channel and scale El Capitan in Yosemite Park, the ex-soldier said completing the marathon was "tough."

'No time to rest'

Maj Packer was forced to stop just once to receive physiotherapy.

He set out at about 1000 BST on Sunday and crossed the finishing line on Pall Mall shortly before 1200 BST on Monday.

By taking just over a day he beat his 2009 time by 13 days.

He's an inspiration to many
Ruth Owen, chief executive of Whizz-Kidz

"I think you could say this is some improvement," he joked.

But he added: "I'm not going to get any time to rest even now - there is work still to be done in terms of fundraising."

During the run, a young support walker from one of the charities joined him over each mile.

All 26 then reunited to see the major over the final 365 yards.

Ruth Owen, Chief Executive of disabled children's charity Whizz-Kids, said: "We are absolutely delighted that this year Phil has chosen to support a number of charities, including Whizz-Kidz, through his endeavours to complete the London Marathon.

"He's an inspiration to many - raising vital funds and building awareness of various charitable causes."



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SEE ALSO
Phil Packer's biggest challenge yet
23 Apr 10 |  Inside Sport
In Pictures: London Marathon
25 Apr 10 |  London

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