Burned soldier hero Karl Hinett's marathon year

Dudley | News | Published:

A Black Country soldier who suffered severe burns as his tank was petrol-bombed in Iraq is set to launch his bid to run 52 marathons in a year.

A Black Country soldier who suffered severe burns as his tank was petrol-bombed in Iraq is set to launch his bid to run 52 marathons in a year.

Starting in Zurich, Switzerland, tomorrow Karl Hinett, aged 23, aims to run 1,363 miles in 2011 to help Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital burns unit.

Karl, who joined the Staffordshire Regiment when he was 17, is originally from Tipton, but now lives in Dudley.

He suffered 37 per cent burns to his hands, legs, arms and face and had to learn to walk again and had multiple operations and skin grafts when he was injured in September 2005.

He said: "It was a long process of recovery and I still come to the outpatients department now, but despite all the challenges I've faced, I've come through. It's now time to give something back."

He survived being burned alive as his Warrior tank was petrol bombed during a rescue operation in Iraq. The footage was seen around the world. Five years and numerous operations later, Karl will run 52 official marathons in a year to help others for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) Charity.

He is funding the challenge himself using his army pension, and said: "Raising money to help other patients on the unit through the QEHB Charity is the least I can do to thank the fantastic doctors and nurses who saved my life and enabled me to achieve what I have.

"To me, anything is possible. A few months after the attack I ran the London Marathon to prove I could.


"I've become a bit of an adrenaline junkie, doing skydiving, bungee jumping, motor bike racing, anything which pushes me to the limit."

Karl, the eldest of six children, left school at 16 and after a brief spell working in a glass factory, joined the Staffordshire Regiment . He was in Iraq for five months when he was injured on September 19 2005. His regiment was part of a rescue operation to free two British soldiers who had been captured and held in Basra.

He added: "A riot had broken out and we were the first tank on the scene. Someone threw a petrol bomb. I remember the smell and then feeling the dampness through my uniform.

"When I was alight I didn't feel any pain - I guess it must have been the shock at first. I remember my commander, who was also alight, telling me to keep calm through the radio and then I felt the pain. My hands were burning as I pushed down on the top of the tank to climb out of the hatch.

"The metal was searing hot and I couldn't get free, as I was still wearing the headset and the wire pulled me down into the tank again. I gritted my teeth and pushed again, hoping the wire would snap or melt. Thankfully it did and as I fell from the tank I blacked out." To sponsor Karl visit

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