Royal Navy medic to race Great North Run on HMS Duncan

A Royal Navy medic will be running the Great North Run, despite being thousands of miles away on operations in the Gulf.

Petty Officer Medical Assistant Maree O’Rourke is currently serving on HMS Duncan and when she found out the ship would not be back in time for her to take part in the half marathon race in Newcastle, she decided she would run it anyway, on a treadmill.

This Sunday, while thousands of people are lacing up their trainers on the streets of the city, she will be running simultaneously on the Type 45 destroyer.

PO O’Rourke had been spending the free time she had during her six-month deployment on training to tackle the Great North Run to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

Originally from Rosyth, Scotland, but now living in Hampshire, the Gosport Road Runners member will be running in a race vest supplied by the charity with her official race number, both of which were sent out when she found out she would not be home for the event.

It’s fantastic to have the support I do from every member of the Ship’s Company. Hopefully, that will make running in the roasting heat while looking at a bare wall more bearable.

PO O’Rourke

She chose to raise money for Breast Cancer Care because of the number of women affected by the disease each year.

PO O’Rourke said: “With women on board, the chances are that one of my friends just from this ship may have to battle breast cancer in the future if nothing is done about it.”

So far, she has raised £625 – more than double her target.

PO O’Rourke will be cheered on by her shipmates as she takes over the gym to run the 13.1 miles. Her friends have even volunteered to take it in turns running a mile with her.