Posted on March 13, 2019
Gulf War veteran John Owens credits his passion for running with helping him deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which he has experienced after the recent death of a friend and former comrade. He has been nominated for the ‘Soldiering On Awards’ in the People’s Choice category.
After being medically discharged from the Army, Mr Owens says his passion for running has helped his recovery. At 17, he was one of the youngest soldiers to serve in the first Gulf War. Without realising, he suffered his first stroke in his early twenties and carried on with the Royal Highland Fusiliers. It was only when he suffered his second stroke over a decade later that he realised his military career was over.
Despite the devastating injuries, Mr Owens has been able to battle back and rekindle interest in long distance running.
This, he says, has helped his recovery both physically and mentally after his best friend and former comrade took his own life in 2016.
Mr Owens credits the focus required to run 1,000 miles in a year to the memory of his friend: “I do recall being at his funeral, in the back of the car looking out and I could see his coffin and the shine of our battalion’s cap badge on his coffin – I thought, that is a sign, I am going to run. This is what he would have wanted. He wouldn’t have wanted me just to go back into a pit of despair. So I decided to come up with ‘Davy’s run’ – to run over 1,000 miles in the space of a year which I’ve done successfully.”