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Gumpathon 2010

Sep 10, 2010 - Nov 10, 2010

September 10, 2010, New York, NY – Across the United States in 63 Days!!

Across the USA – Dubbed The Gumpathon, as inspired by the movie Forrest Gump, six men from three of the world’s finest fighting forces in the world will attempt to run coast to coast across America on September 10th 2010, to raise funds for injured Servicemen and women on both sides of the Atlantic.

The team’s journey will begin at 8am on September 10, 2010, as the six runners will set out from the USS Intrepid in New York City Harbor with the intention of reaching Los Angeles, CA by November 11. The team will run across 16 States, four time zones and complete approximately 20 miles a day each, for eight weeks. One of the team members, Mark Ormrod, is a triple amputee, who was injured in Afghanistan while serving with the British Royal Marines.

The Gumpathon will raise money for three Service charities. In the UK, Help for Heroes and The Royal Marine Charitable Trust Fund and, in the US, The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund in The States. The team aim to raise £1 million for each of the charities. This is the first time in which US and British forces have united to raise funds for such a cause.

This epic challenge is the brainchild of Colour Sergeant Damian Todd, Royal Marines who, after watching the film Forrest Gump in 1994 thought that running across America seemed like an interesting idea. After ten years of thinking about it, Damian found a reason to put his plan into action when a close friend Mark Ormrod was left with serious permanent disability following his tour in Afghanistan. Mark became the first triple amputee of the war in Afghanistan and has recently published a book about his experiences, ‘Man Down’.

Mark will be running alongside the team and completing what mileage he can, despite his injuries.

Why is the team running?

On Christmas Eve 2007, during his tour of duty in Afghanistan, Marine Mark Ormrod stood on a land mine and the explosion took off both of his legs and his right arm. Mark arrived at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham on Christmas Day, 2007. His girlfriend Becky and his family were waiting for him.

Once he was mobile again Damian invited Mark and his friend Mike, who lost both legs in Iraq four years earlier, to join him at an event in London. He admits that he was apprehensive about seeing his friend as he didn’t know what to expect and during their visit he became struck by how the dynamics of the simple things we all take for granted are changed completely for those with injury. It was at that moment that he realised he had to do something to help all those returning from conflict facing this challenge.

Damian then set about gathering together a host of people with the same motivation; most of them have lost friends and colleagues and seen others return to face lives that have been changed utterly. None of the group are experts in their field and although the runners are fit, they are not long-distance specialists, neither are the support team professional fundraisers. Everyone has come together because they want, in some small way, to honor the predominantly young, men and women on both sides of the Atlantic who face life changing injury with strength, determination and great dignity. They want to support them in their overwhelming desire to get on with life in the best fashion they can.

Facts and Figures

The numbers involved in the Gumpathon show what an epic challenge it is. During this Run the team will:

  • Run 3,530 miles, on average 20 miles each per day.
  • Complete the equivalent of 34 marathons each.
  • Cross four time zones – Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific.
  • Run through 16 states – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.
  • Run through a total of 789 towns and cities.
  • Climb ten mountain ranges: Blue Ridge, the Appalachians, the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, Allehegny, the Cumberland Mountains, the Rockies, San Bernadino and the San Gabriel Mountains.
  • Cross three deserts: Nevada, Arizona and Mojave.
  • Get through 24 pairs of trainers, each pair lasting approximatley 500miles.
  • Face minimum temperatures of 32°F and maximum temperatures of 120°F.
  • Take in 3500 calories per day.
  • Complete their longest day on Day 35 with 85.42 miles between Cordell and Sweetwater, Oklahoma.
  • Climb to a highest point of 7,527ft on Day 49 at the Grand Canyon.

Meet the Team




Color Sergeant Damian Todd, Royal Marines
Marine Jamie Jobson
Marine Mark Ormrod



Gunnery Sergeant Charles ‘Chunks’ Padilla
Staff Sergeant James ‘Jim’ Mezzoni-Dawson

Staff Sergeant Caroline Wilde


Jules Payne, Yellow massage

The Route

The Gumpathon route stretches from New York to LA and runs across 3,530 miles, crosses three deserts, four time zones and ten mountain ranges which climb to over 10,000 feet.

Please visit the Gumpathon website here for a more detailed route map.


Sep 10, 2010
Nov 10, 2010