Today cruise passenger Steve Eaton completed the world’s first-ever marathon at sea aboard Princess Cruises’ ship Grand Princess with a time of 5 hours, 16 minutes and 45 seconds.
Eaton, 57, who is from Tamworth, UK has run 33 marathons in the past but this was a totally new experience which stemmed from his wish to raise money for Help for Heroes, a charity that provides support to those wounded, sick or injured in the line of duty since 9/11.
The race was inspired by Eaton’s family friend, Staff Sergeant Christopher Chacksfield, who was murdered in June 2010 in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Chris, 31, had come through tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Bosnia unscathed but was killed in an unprovoked attack as he waited for a taxi with his wife, who had just returned herself from duty in Afghanistan. He left behind his wife and young daughter.
Because Chacksfield had expressed a wish in his lifetime to raise funds for Help for Heroes, Eaton decided to do so on his behalf. As an avid runner, Eaton chose a marathon and asked Princess Cruises for help in an effort to run the first ever marathon at sea.
Eaton started his marathon today at 9 a.m. on a course of just over 600 meters (.37 miles) around the Promenade Deck of Grand Princess, while the ship was sailing near the coast of Portugal. He had to run 70 laps to cover the total distance of 26.2 miles.
Eaton 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.”