Just over a week ago an article was published by Western Morning News that exposed Spartan Race founder Richard Lee's false military credentials. The claims that Richard was an officer in the Royal Marines have been fairly prominent throughout the rise of Spartan Race, so this has become a contentious issue. The revelations followed the initial exposure and campaign from the Facebook group named the Walter Mitty Hunters Club. A few days ago Spartan released a statement, which for some seemed to further fuel the fire by not including a direct apology.
Many have campaigned for Richard Lee's resignation, including the group Richard Lee must stand down, who state the following on their Facebook page:
"...the purpose of this page is to ensure a 'man' who paraded as a Royal Marine without having been awarded the right to do so, is removed from his post and in turn, we will have peace of mind that yet another, who has disrespected our soldiers and forces on every shore, is no longer able to profit from his deceit nor be able to hide from his lies.
Some will say that he has issued a statement and we should move on. The problem is that, that is all it was was, a statement, a statement that alluded to the media being at fault. If a person has any respect for the soldiers and their families that sacrifice their time and lives for our safety, as suggested in the statement, (they would not lie in the first place), they would offer a decent apology.
The fact that he lied is a disgrace.
The fact that he lied so publicly is an abomination.
The fact that we are all being sidelined with no clear statement of action and a detailed apology is horrendous.
The fact that the appropriate apology was not issued in the first place is a disgrace.
The fact that a decent reprimand was not publicly issued by Spartan is deplorable.
If you respect our forces Richard Lee... Stand down..."
Lauraine Naude, publisher of the page, added:
"Yes, I have been quite vocal on the issue and I have maintained that I am still pro Spartan but considering the military history in my family and my passion for OCR, this has really struck a cord."
We asked Richard Lee if he would like to say his piece publicly and he has now come back to us with this very definite apology:
"I was wrong, I am sorry, and I want to apologise for the fact I allowed it to be publicised that I had passed out from CTCRM as a Royal Marines Commando Officer.
From 2001-2004, I was in the Officer Training Corps, which sparked my interest in joining the Royal Marines. In 2006, I went through selection to become a Young Officer in the Royal Marines, and after being selected, I commenced training in 2007. During the 18-month course, in 2008, I broke my kneecap. After surgery and rehab, I was told to take what is known as a “Back Batch” where you re-enter training with the following year’s batch during the same period of training. In the interim, as my desired career path was to become a mountain leader, I was permitted to attend relevant courses. I was due to complete my training in 2009, but when I returned to CTCRM, the Medical Officer determined that the damage that I sustained to my knee had not healed sufficiently, and I would not be allowed to Back Batch a second time. 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 upmost respect for members of the military, and even during my own time training, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.
On another matter, many people have commented on a photo of me that I believe was taken out of context. It has been suggested that I have worn the ceremonial dress of the Royal Marines, with medals I was not entitled to. Please understand that the photo in question was taken off my personal Facebook page when I was 18 at a murder mystery party. I rented the costume for my character of a 2-star General from World War I at a local fancy dress shop. I understand how this masquerade party outfit might offend someone, and for this I am sorry and apologise to anyone who was offended.
In closing, to all those who served their countries, past and present, please accept my deepest apologies."
We'd be interested to know your thoughts. Do you support Richard Lee? Are you happy with his apology? Should he resign? Voice your opinion either way by joining our forum discussion here.