Marine Tom’s year-long series of gutsy ventures

Royal Marine Tom Allen
Royal Marine Tom Allen

For many, the prospect of bench-pressing the weight of an army truck or finishing numerous half marathons would be a tough prospect.

But when your day job is trying to detect Improvised Explosive Devices in an Afghan war zone, it puts things into perspective.

As a serving Royal Marine recently returned from a tour of Afghanistan, Harborough district man Tom Allen is in the middle of a mighty year-long charity challenge.

The former Robert Smyth School student is hoping to raise £1,664 for the Royal Marines Association as this autumn marks the 350th anniversary of the formation of the Marines on October 18, 1664.

He started his series of challenges last August and will continue until this October, undertaking a different one each month.

The Royal Marines Association aims to maintain and promote esprit de corps and comradeship among all Marines and their families, past and present.

Tom, who grew up in Lubenham and whose family now lives in Marston Trussell, joined the Marines in June 2010 after gaining an environmental science degree at Plymouth University.

He is currently based at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre in Lympstone in Devon but will shortly be moving to train as a Royal Marines Medic.

He has served in Afghanistan as an Improvised Explosive Device detective dog-handler.

His first charity challenge was the Cheddar Gorge half-marathon in Somerset last August which he did in his boots and rig in about two-and-a-half hours.

In total, he has now run two half-marathons, competed in the Brecon Beacons Tough Mudder competition, bench pressed a total of 12 tons – the weight of an army truck – in just 42 minutes, completed the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge in 11 hours 42 mins and last month attempted to row the equivalent distance of the English Channel.

On Saturday he faced his first local challenge by competing in the annual 20km Avalanche Run in Sibbertoft.

Future challenges include the Dirty Weekend hosted at Burghley House in Lincolnshire, a 20-mile run featuring 200 obstacles, and a number of other half-marathons.

Mum Mandy Allen said: “While Tom is really good at entering and completing the challenges he is not so good at the fundraising bit so his family are appealing to anyone who knows him or who would like to support this worthy challenge to sponsor Tom.”

People can donate online at

Tom said: “Please sponsor me on and help me raise money for this fantastic charity.”

From the age of six Tom was involved in the scouting movement in the Harborough district, going to the Lubenham Beavers group followed by the Cubs and the Scouts in Foxton where he won the Queen’s Scout Award in 2003.

He has not yet decided on all of his future challenges but is open to suggestions.

If there are any business that would like to consider corporate sponsorship, please contact Mandy and Graham Allen on 01858 464115.