Staff Sergeant Christopher Chacksfield once expressed interest in raising funds for Help for Heroes, a charity that provides support to those wounded, sick or injured in the line of duty since 9/11. Unfortunately, he never got the chance. In June 2010, he unexpectedly passed away, and his friend Steve Eaton struggled to find some way to honor the fallen military veteran’s life.
With an upcoming cruise in place, Steve put his mind to work on a unique idea for honoring his late friend, but it would take a lot of planning and coordination with the Grand Princess crew. Princess Cruises was more than happy to help out and on September 22nd, Steve Eaton successfully completed the world’s first-ever marathon at sea to benefit Help for Heroes on Christopher Chacksfield’s behalf.
Though he’s an avid runner with 33 previous marathons under his belt, this was definitely a new experience for Steve, and the 57-year-old UK native was up to the challenge. While Grand Princess was sailing near the coast of Portugal, he ran 70 laps around the ship’s Promenade Deck to cover a total distance of 26.2 miles, which he wrapped up in 5 hours, 16 minutes and 45 seconds. A considerable crowd lined Steve’s route, offering support during his run and subsequently congratulating him at the finish line, including Grand Princess Captain, Anthony Herriott.
Once he’d had a chance to catch his breath, Steve said, “This has probably been my hardest marathon to date, but it was for a very special cause and I’m grateful for all the support of the passengers and crew onboard to keep me going. Tonight I’ll have a big steak, for the protein to help my body recover, and a glass of wine to celebrate together with my wife, Margaret.”
“Everyone at Princess Cruises is very proud that Grand Princess could host the first marathon at sea,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Our passengers and crew were really behind Steve’s attempt, and it was wonderful that so many of them came out on deck to cheer him on. Help for Heroes does fantastic work and we hope that Steve’s efforts have raised lots of money for this worthwhile charity.”
Congratulations, Steve! We hope that you took some time to escape completely during the remainder of your cruise.