Ely man resigns days after his claims to have served with the Royal Marines are shown to be false
13:49 04 January 2014
Ely man Richard Lee has resigned after his claims to have served for three years with the Royal Marines were shown to be false.
The 30-year-old was one of the founders of the globally popular Spartan Race, a unique endurance race which attracts thousands of competitors in more than 60 events held worldwide.
But, caught up in a growing storm over his claims to have served with the Royal Marines mountain troop, it was announced that he had resigned
Mr Lee, a former King’s Ely pupil, said: “I was wrong, I am sorry, and I want to apologise for the fact that I publicised that I had passed out from CTCRM as a Royal Marines Commando Officer.”
And Joe De Sena, chief executive of Spartan Race, also confirmed that Lee had resigned, saying: “Richard and I spoke at length regarding the inaccuracies surrounding his status as a Royal Marine, and ultimately, Richard and I concluded the only honourable thing for him to do would be to resign his position.”
In countless interviews carried out with local and national media since Spartan Race was established in 2010, Mr Lee, claimed to have served with the Royal Marines mountain troop.
Speaking to race website muddyrace.co.uk, Mr Lee is quoted as saying: “When I was at university I was in the University Training Corp and that put me through university. After this I went into the mountain troops in the Royal Marines for about three years but I broke my leg which meant I left.”
In interviews with the Ely Standard, Mr Lee also referred to his service with the Royal Marines.
But, his claims came to the attention of a veterans group known as The Walter Mitty Hunters Club HQ, an online group which carries out background checks on people claiming to be former servicemen.
The group produced evidence it said cast doubt on Mr Lee’s service claims never and, just days later, a statement was issued by Spartan Race and Mr Lee apologising for what they called “inaccuracies”.
But the apology did little to quell a rising tide of anger online and, hours after his initial apology, Lee tendered his resignation.
Subsequently, he explained that, in 2006, he went through selection to become a young officer in Royal Marines and, after being selected, began training in 2007. During his 18-month course, however, he broke his kneecap and was forced to take a break.
After an assessment from a doctor, he was advised that the wound had not properly healed and that he would not be able to complete his training, something he described as “a huge blow”.