12:53 Thursday 02 January 2014

Spartan Race UK organiser from near Ely who posed as Royal Marine resigns


Richard Lee, from near Ely, resigned as organiser of the Spartan Race UK Richard Lee, from near Ely, resigned as organiser of the Spartan Race UK

A founder of one of the country’s toughest obstacle courses has resigned after lying about passing out as a Royal Marines officer.

Spartan Race UK co-founder Richard Lee, who lives just outside Ely, has apologised after he continually claimed to be a former Royal Marines officer from the Commando Training Centre (CTC) in Lympstone.

Mr Lee, 31, had made the false claims to the News after the Cambridge Spartan Sprint, held at the Carver Barracks, near Saffron Walden, in August.

The former licensee and operator of Spartan Races, who resigned on New Year’s Eve, admitted that he underwent Young Officer Training at CTC but did not finish.

The lies prompted an angry response from former servicemen who revealed the truth on the Facebook page The Walter Mitty Hunters Club HQ – an organisation who investigate people who falsely claim they served in the Armed Forces.

A spokesman for the group said: “People like Lee insult the hard work and reputation of our armed forces. They use lies to gain advantage from the inspecting and by doing so give a misleading impression.”

Mr Lee, who grew up in Stretham and went to King’s School in Ely, said: “I was wrong, I am sorry, and I want to apologise for the fact that I publicised that I had passed out as a Royal Marines Commando Officer.”

Mr Lee said he went through selection to become a Young Officer in the Royal Marines in 2006 and started training the next year.

He added that during his 18-month course, in 2008, he broke his kneecap and when he returned to CTCRM, a medical officer determined that he was unfit to continue his training.

Mr Lee said: “This was a huge blow, as even from a young age, I was inspired by family members who were in the Royal Marines.

“I have the utmost respect for members of the military, and even during my own time training, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.”

Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan Race, confirmed that he and Mr Lee concluded that the “only honourable thing” for him to do was to resign.

Mr De Sena said Spartan Race “does not condone stolen valour in any form” and apologised to those “who worked so hard to earn proud distinction serving their countries”.

The Cambridge Spartan Sprint is set to return to Carver Barracks on Sunday, September 7 this year.

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