Meet Chelsea Pensioner Mick Gue: Sporting Success

17th April 2024

Chelsea Pensioner, Mick Gue, in scarlet uniform

Chelsea Pensioner and fitness fanatic, Mick Gue, joined the Royal Hospital last year and has become a very active member of the community. 

Originally from Plymouth, Mick has been involved in many outdoor sports throughout his life. From boxing, canoeing, rock climbing and mountaineering; his 25-year career in the Army allowed him to discover many different activities. This also included running! 

Continuing his passion for fitness at the Royal Hospital, Mick shared with us some of his athletic triumphs and how he is staying fit in his retirement…

Discovering Running

Mick joined the Army in 1960 and served with the Royal Signals. During his 25-year career, he saw service in Germany, Cyprus, Kenya, and the UK. Initially trained as a Specialist Operator, he was promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 during his time in the Army. 

Sport was very much part of Mick’s time in the Army. When he initially joined, Mick became part of the boxing club for his unit and took part in the morning runs. Here, he discovered a secret talent for running. 

I was beating most of the regiment for cross country runs so I thought I’d pack in boxing. During my time in boy service, I was selected for the Devon Senior Athletics to run against the Royal Navy. It was held in Brickfields in Plymouth. That was quite something at only 18!”

However, his passion and talent for running had only just begun.

Running Highlights 

Old photograph of Mick Gue in a canoe during his time in the Army
Continuing his running success, Mick went on to win the Army Individual Mile title. His running did not go unnoticed…

Then people wanted me in their units. The individual championships were in Aldershot. It was the last time the mile was held, and I ended up winning that.

During his first posting in Germany, Mick was seconded to Norway as a canoe instructor. In Norway, Mick used to teach students from Germany canoeing and rock climbing. 

In Norway, his running really took off…

Black and white photo of Mick Gue running during his Army career

I ran in quite a lot of the local communities in Norway and word must have got out that there was a match between Great Britain versus Denmark in Aalborg. They wrote a nice letter to the CO and asked if I could run for them. So, I went to Aalborg and that’s where I got my first vest.

It was race after race from then. I have done a lot of marathons. The London marathon three times, Berlin three times and other various marathon races over Europe. The Dutch championships, I got my best time of 2:39.

I was later posted to Cyprus. I won the Cypriot 1500 metres while I was there. I was selected to run against Albania representing Cyprus, but the unit security officer said no, so unfortunately, I missed out on that one.

The 800m was my favourite race. I won the title three times for the 800m.”

Mick had many running successes throughout his career, and he went on to represent the Army and UK at Commonwealth level. 

Passing on the baton 

After his many sporting successes, Mick was discharged from the British Army in 1985. He returned to the UK and settled in Harrogate. 

Here, Mick coached a team at the Army Apprentice College. 

“I coached a team at the Army Apprentice College at Harrogate. There were some really good, young runners. We had nine in the first 20 in the Army Junior Championships. That was incredible! Three of them went on to run for England. Very proud moment for me.”

In 1986, Mick volunteered as a Recreation Assistant RAF Menwith Hill. Eventually progressing to Recreational Director for the US Army stationed at Menwith Hill. Mick oversaw organising recreational and adventure training for them. He was later asked to apply for a full-time position with the US Army Federal Service in Texas. 

Alongside his family, Mick took on this new adventure and relocated to the US. Drawing on his sporting background, Mick was tasked with running fitness programmes for US Army personnel. This included organising the World Military Boxing Championships in 2004 and the World Military Volleyball competition in 2006.  

Staying Active in Retirement

Returning to the UK a few years before the pandemic, Mick began to research what to do in his retirement. In April 2023, he joined the Royal Hospital Chelsea and is continuing to stay active in his retirement. 

Although Mick has now hung up his running trainers due to a knee injury, he continues to find other ways to stay active. 

“I do a lot of biking to make up for it and I go to the gym every day. I do about a mile on the bike and then the rowing machine as well. I find that exercises all the parts of your body to maintain strength. 

“I had my first session with the Walking Rugby team recently. That’s a new venture! It’s not just a way to stay fit but it’s nice to have that social element too. It’s something to look forward to each week.” 

“I’ve loved my time at the Royal Hospital so far. I got the chance to take part in the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall and be part of the Royal Hospital Contingent marching past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. I’m excited for what else is to come.” 

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