Nine 7 SCOTS take on the Washington Marine Corps Marathon for military charity

After an absence forced on it by lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, the US Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) took place last month in Washington DC, and a team from 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 SCOTS) took part raising funds for the Perth & Kinross branch of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

MCM was inaugurated in 1976 by Colonel James L. Fowler, who decided to create a marathon that promoted goodwill between the military and post-Vietnam community in a nation with raw and painful divisions because of the conflict.

SSAFA, by comparison, is almost 140 years old and has been supporting the Armed Forces community – serving, veteran, Regular and Reserve, and their families – since Major James Gildea set it up 1885. As such, it is the UK’s oldest tri-service military charity.

The self-funded team of nine from 7 SCOTS, a Reserve infantry battalion, has beaten its target and raised just over £2,000 after completing the MCM, which takes in many of Washington’s most iconic landmarks.

As per tradition, it begins at 7.55am sharp with a blast from a howitzer, when runners take up the challenge to “…charge the District, beat the bridge and take the Iwo”.

Captain Brian “Spats” Baxter late of the Black Watch, the team organiser, and now, in his spare time, the branch fundraiser said:

For anyone who has been to the States and gone to a sports event – be it football, baseball, or a motor race, you’d know that these events are pure Americana and all the better for it.

There’s the howitzer, a flypast of fighters, parachutists, and that’s just the start… It’s just amazing, and the esprit de corps, whether you’re a ‘grunt’ or from another service or even from Scotland shows just what a band of brothers and sisters the Armed Forces family is.”

Spats concluded:

“We’re so proud to have taken part in it raising money for SSAFA Perth & Kinross, which does so much good for the military family in the area.

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