American Ivan Castro and Briton Karl Hinett hope to finish the London Marathon April 23 the same way they finished the Boston Marathon six days earlier: side by side.
Both men are wounded veterans, and they hope to raise awareness about mental health issues.
The idea to run the back-to-back marathons came from Prince Harry of the United Kingdom, who invited both men to speak on a 2016 panel on mental health care.
“I was approached in May by Prince Harry himself,” said Castro, who was competing at the 2016 Invictus Games for wounded service members when the prince asked him to race Boston and London. “I agreed immediately,” Castro told ABC News.
In both races, the men are wearing the bright blue headbands of Heads Together, the organization spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to end any stigma surrounding mental health.
When the two men run, a short rope connects their wrists. Castro, a 49-year-old U.S. military veteran, was blinded in a mortar attack in 2006. Hinett guides him through the 42 kilometers to the finish.
“It takes a team to help me train and to race with me,” Castro said. But he obviously brings his own athletic talent: He has finished more than 50 marathons since his injury.
Hinett, 30, is a U.K. military veteran who sustained burns across his body from a 2005 attack in Iraq. He has run more than 145 races since suffering that attack.
— Bob Woodruff Foundtn (@Stand4Heroes) April 12, 2017
Both men are now focused on the challenge of the upcoming race. “It’s going to be quite exhausting,” Hinett said of the London Marathon, which follows so quickly on their recent Boston race. “The idea of the back-to-back marathons is to raise high awareness. … We … survive together,” he told Fox News.