Bing Crosby classic inspires Debbie as she completes French Riviera Marathon carrying 14kg pack

HELP for Heroes fundraiser Debbie Smith was swinging on a star as she defied the odds and completed a marathon carrying a 14kg soldier’s pack.

At the 11-mile stage she was close to giving up because the weight of the bag was becoming too much - but she started singing the Bing Crosby classic Would You Like To Swing On A Star and gathered enough strength to reach the end.

Debbie, 34, of March, a co-ordinator for the charity that looks after injured service personnel, completed the French Riviera Marathon from Nice to Cannes in five hours 49 minutes. She finished 7,043rd out of 10,800 runners.

The bag she carried belonged to a soldier who lost both his legs when he was injured in Afghanistan. His wife gave Debbie the bag to borrow for her remarkable feat.

Debbie said: “When I got to 18km (about 11 miles) I wanted to give up. People were running past me and my hands had swollen up because my blood circulation was being restricted.

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“English runners who came past me told me I was mad for carrying the bag but I was determined to finish.

“For some reason I started singing Would You Like To Swing On A Star. It was the only song I could think of at the time but it kept me occupied and got me through to the finish.”

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Debbie trained for the run carrying a 20kg pack but a trainer in Afghanistan advised her to cut the pack down to the size carried by female soldiers because such a weight could have caused an injury.

She hopes the run has raised �3,000 on top of the �2,000 she raised by completing the Barcelona Marathon earlier this year.

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