Richard Lee apology

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.

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  1. I really wanted to like the Spartan series but the event (Beast London 2012) proved to be far more style than substance. As did fellow competitors. None of the integrity, spirit or humanity of events run by genuine British forces. I guess it appears these events reflect the guys at the top, the directors etc. Tough Guy and Mr Mouse set the bar high, Spartan and Tough Mudder are too commercial, slick and lacking in true the true test of human spirit through lessons in genuine humility.

  2. I do wonder sometimes how important some things are to some people. Yes I agree, claiming some military history that you didn’t partake in is dishonest and wrong, but is it such a major issue. We all use banks who are dishonest, governments are no better and who hasn’t enhanced their personal history with a little lie or two to impress. The purpose of these events is to get people off their backsides and out enjoying themselves. I wonder how many of the people complaining about Richard Lee have military backgrounds themselves. I am ex-military and I enjoy these events, until this report I had never heard of Richard Lee, I didn’t need to know about him to participate and whatever he claims to be or to have done doesn’t distract from my enjoyment of running in the mud. If you only signed up to these events because of his histroy then you have been deceived and you deserve an appology but if like me you’d never heard of him or care not a jot about his history then stop moaning and get training.

  3. However, in claiming he was a Royal Marine Commando and a mountain leader he was also claiming qualifications and experiences he didn’t have. That must be a major concern to everyone regardless of what they feel about his lies. I am ex military, he was ‘outed’ by ex military and most of those who are outraged are ex military, he is in fact being investigated by the Ministry of Defence.

  4. Now how about an apology to the Walter Mitty Hunters Club for threatening them with legal action after they exposed you, Richard? Cowardly behaviour from a man who wanted to join such a brave and proud service, don’t you think?

  5. Hmmmm what relevent courses? When I bust my clavical in training I was put in hunter troop (medical remedial troop) till I was fit to resume training with another troop .
    I then went on to pass out and follow my career path as a Royal Marine and to train become an assault engineer.
    I was unaware I could of done my AE 3s course in training whilst healing…I dipped out there….

  6. I agree with Dave Crane. Yes it is wrong he lied about being in the Royal Marines and yes he should apolgise to the Spartan competitors and to the Armed Services but do you really check the cv or the LinkedIn profile of organisers of events before you enter races? I don’t. I look how hard the race is going to be and my friends recommendations. I entered the 2012 Spartan Beast, spent 70ish hard earned pounds and it turned out to be a waste of time. Lifting chunks of breeze blocks above my head 50 times does not make a race “the toughest event ever” or having a woman with the enthusiasm of a dead slug start the race does not fill me with desire to enter the Spartan series again. I should have entered Hellrunner South which was on at the same time and before you ask I do not know if any member of their team served with our, much loved, armed forces.

    Moral of the story – I don’t care if the organisers are harden SAS warriors or fearless cub scouts I just want a race, no matter the distances, which challenges me mentally and physically and when I cross the line I feel proud of what I have achieved with like minded people(and be handed a good quality technical tshirt that I can show off with at the gym or at BMF)

  7. The reality is that I like most of the racers have done a spartan race because my mates dared me (from that point we were hooked), we had no idea of who the founders were or even that it was a military styled race. The guy Richard certainly should apologise, but I hope to God no one goes through my CV especially my love for the Theatre, to resign is a matter for his bosses but it seems a bit harsh.

    BTW just had a look at the Facebook page, the language they use is quite worrying and is very playground bullylike

  8. “In the interim, as my desired career path was to become a mountain leader, I was permitted to attend relevant courses.” What on earth does that mean?! Still trying to make out that you were some kind of mountain leader in the Royal Marines?! I still sense bluff and chaff in that statement following a severe public backlash after your exposure, but,***sigh***, I suppose that will be as good as we will get from you. The fact is Mr Lee, you appear a very deluded fellow who repeatedly lied and bloated about his past and then threatened legal action when exposed. Make it your New Years resolution to always speak the truth. Long live The Walter Mitty Hunters Club.

  9. Thanks very much to everyone who’s commented and thanks especially for being civil. I know there are some very strong feelings but let’s try to keep it that way.

    We will moderate any comments with particularly bad language or anything which is directly offensive to others who have taken the time to put their opinion forward.

    This is a great opportunity for both sides to be heard.

  10. I joined the 2007 batch with Richard Lee and I remain astonished at his evasiveness and cunning interpretation of the facts to justify what was reported in the media.

    The truth is he never intended on rejoining training in 2008. Indeed, I vividly remember the training staff wondering what to do after he decided to leave and failed to return from a weekend – technically going awol. The Mountain Leader training assertion/justification/evasion is also deeply frustrating.

    I have resisted comment on this issue but I feel compelled following his evasive apology. Sad old men dressing up in uniform is one thing but actively profiting from the good name of the Royal Marines is another.

    As we who have seen him in training – ‘classic Teggers’.

  11. I have a few unanswered questions that Mr Lee may help with……

    1. At the outset of your Spartan career, who told Spartan you were a Royal Marine Commando/ ML? They cannot have picked up misquoted publicity, as you were not known then.

    2. Will you be perusing legal action against the media who have misquoted you ? After all if you never said you were a Royal Marine ML, then this backlash is not your fault – will you take legal action against them?

    3. You have threatened to take legal action against myself(possibly others?). You have accused me of “being” The Walter Mitty Hunter Club, after I shared one of their threads. You have tracked me down gaining my phone number and address. I do not hide these, I have nothing to hide from. Why would you threaten me with legal action? The article I publicised is now all over the net – that’s a lot of legal action?

    I am a veteran. I will not be threatened.
    You have my number – the offer of a face to face still stands.


    • Good luck with the face to face Si. Cowards like him always run away when stood up to.
      From one veteran to another, Happy New Year mate.

  12. It all seems a bit playground like, what are you, jelous?! Ok, so he said he was a Marine or he had trained as a Marine, so yes, an apology for that indefinitely, but really who cares what your background and credentials are? i’m sure not every single competitor competing in the Spartan Race knows this or has even taken the time to look it up?! Just those wishing to make a man’s life hell, do-gooders, jobs worths the list goes on..
    He got it wrong, so what?!
    & you’re all so perfectly squeaky clean yourselves….???!
    Give the man a break!

  13. Missy the fact still stands he made money promoting the race as an ex royal marine, so this is ok then i take it?

  14. No but the percentage of profits made still go to the chosen charities and organisations. Hes clearly not that selfish and self-centred that people are trying to make him out to be

  15. Even without a law prohibiting “Stolen Valor” in the UK, they DO have laws against Fraud. Lee’s undeniable financial gain from the Spartan races have been due, largely, because he (self-admittedly in interviews) founded and built Spartan on a false reputation and experience. Spartan accepted his resignation only when it realized it could no longer protect or hide him from further public scrutiny. I suspect that his stepping-down, which is tantamount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist, is not the end of the story.

  16. Ok, so the chap told a few porkies. The training may well entitle one to wear the green lid, but those that have served know full well and should remember, that there were those in their troop or units that did not deserve to be there. Remember too, there are plenty of those who have had long service, who then pull-up the old sandbag only to overstate their involvement with particular campaigns, they revel in the glory of being in a particular unit, living off of the notoriety primarily from the exploits of WWII and the Falklands.

    I remember the after Bosnia, yes, one got a shiny little medal from the UN and another for the overseas service but little in the way of fighting, a copper on a Saturday night in Exeter High street probably saw more action yet i’d listen to the idiots chomping the fat, telling their mates what a seriously tough time they had, near fainting at loud bangs etc. It’s not just the walts that live of off others reputation, there are plenty of serving who do too.

  17. Richard Lee joined the Royal Marines Young Officer Batch in September 2007. During an early exercise he suffered from a common injury, a twisted sock. He subsequently received a medical back back batch and was kept on hold for 12 months to allow him to recover and join the next batch coming through. He received a full salary for 12 months, joined his new batch in September 2008 and voluntarily withdrew on the first day. During his short time in training, he earned himself the nickname Richard ‘Integrity’ Lee or ‘Teggers’ – it seems that his 2007 Batch-mates made an accurate assessment of his character and he has done little to rectify this personality flaw.

  18. Who actually cares. The guy created something in the UK that has brought about much fun and excitement to thousands. Sure he may have told a little porky but who hasn’t in the past. And it has been taken out of context. Had he not mentioned his background he would still have been successful in this game. Give the man a break. He has stepped down. The Spartan Race will continue and bring about much joy to many thousands more.


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