Fighter pilot swaps jet for running shoes

Opting for exercise clothes instead of his usual flying suit, Flight Lieutenant Tom, an F/A-18F pilot from No. 1 Squadron, is facing a challenge that will push him to his limits.

Chasing a flying 10km/h speed, slightly slower than the 1000km/h he’s used to, Flight Lieutenant Tom is setting out to run as many kilometres as he can over a 24-hour period, with the aim of raising funds for UNICEF’s Australia’s Coronavirus Appeal.

The keen long-distance runner took off at 3pm on 28 May where he began running laps of a RAAF Base Amberley runway – a challenge he put to himself after his planned international races were cancelled due to COVID-19.

“I was training for the Marathon des Sables which is a six-day, 240km race across the Sahara desert in Morocco, unfortunately that event has been postponed,” FLTLT Tom said.

“While the opportunity to take on this challenge has helped me maintain focus on personal achievement, I am very much aware of those less fortunate than me during this time of uncertainty.

“This is why I’m challenging myself to keep moving for the 24-hour period, covering as many kilometres as possible while raising vital funds and awareness for UNICEF.”

The UNICEF Coronavirus Appeal aims to support vulnerable communities and children affected by the coronavirus in Australia and across the world.

At 4am, 29 May 2020, Tom had run 111km

Like with most thing in the Air Force it is a team effort that achieves the best success.

“I’ll be supported by other members of my squadron and the Amberley Health Centre. They will work shifts to run with me and help with hydration, nutrition and morale,” FLTLT Tom said.

“Opportunities such as this can be rare and I am hugely grateful for the support of the base, my colleagues and bosses at 1SQN and the Health Centre for making this event possible.”

You can donate to this cause here and follow Flight Lieutenant Tom’s journey on Facebook at ‘Running TK’.

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