A policeman who took on knife-wielding jihadists in the London Bridge terror attack has spoken of his determination to repay the hospital that saved him – by running the London Marathon.
Charlie Guenigault was off-duty and unarmed when he crossed the path of a trio of rampaging killers last June, risking his life in an effort to stop the massacre which left eight people dead and another 48 injured last June.
The Pc was left seriously injured after being stabbed five times, but is now preparing to run 26.2 miles through the streets he almost died protecting.
The 26-year-old, from Bexley, south London, will be fundraising for the King’s College Hospital NHS Trust, where he spent 70 days, undergoing five operations.
He told the Press Association that the prospect of long-distance running was hard to imagine last summer.
“I think, if anything, I was just glad to be alive, rather than being at the point of running at all,” he said.
The officer expressed hope that the story of his return from the brink can serve as an inspiration to others.
He added: “I’m running for King’s College Hospital charity, which is where I was treated.
“I wanted to show how much our doctors and NHS and all the staff do to help us, and the support they need as well.
“Initially, it was the people who saved my life on that night and then making sure you are OK all the time, it was pretty much, anything you needed, they helped you with.”
Mr Guenigault suffers long-lasting health problems resulting from his clash with the London Bridge attackers and has taken penicillin twice daily since his spleen was removed.
Despite the physical burden he now bears, his resolve to intervene that night has not diminished with the passing of time.
He said: “If what I knew at the time … I didn’t know that was happening … I would still do the same.
“Looking back at it, you obviously think that wasn’t the best idea, but then again my thought is – if I didn’t do anything, what could have happened?
“The thought of not doing anything is worse than doing something.”
The officer left hospital 13 days after the atrocity and even managed to join crowds for a weekend at Glastonbury festival, but an infection picked up from surgery meant he spent eight more weeks in the wards.
He bears a huge scar from where doctors had to drain fluid from his chest cavity, which was followed by procedures to operate on his lungs and then a hole in his stomach.
By September, the officer had remarkably returned to running, having first completed the London Marathon earlier in the year.
He said: “I’m still building up now definitely, you still feel the pain internally, mainly from the surgery – it’s more a nagging pain than a really hurting sort of pain.
“Apart from that, it’s just scars really, and getting myself as physically fit as possible.
“I would say training is definitely harder this year and because I’m not back at work I don’t have a routine going.
“I will go back to work, I will go back to where I was in the same borough – Southwark – and doing what I do.”
Mr Guenigault said he has largely escaped trauma and is relishing the opportunity to see Londoners turn out for race day.
“This is a positive thing, it shows that hundreds of thousands of people will come out from their homes, they will come out from all parts of the country and the world to come and see, not just London itself, but the community and how everyone can get behind each other and support each other.”
The Metropolitan Police officer can be sponsored at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=charlieguenigault&pageUrl=4