TWO firefighters from Middlewich Fire Station are going the extra mile for charity as they prepare to take on the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run Half Marathon in three-stone worth of fire kit.
Ashley Powell and Paul Leigh from Middlewich will be putting their fitness to the test as they run the 13.1 mile course in helmet and tunic, complete with a breathing cylinder on their backs, to raise money for the North West and North Wales Transportation Service (NWTS).
NWTS, which was formed in November 2010, is a team of Paediatric Intensive Care doctors and nurses who stabilise and transport very ill children, who have already been admitted to their local hospital, to specialist children’s hospitals including the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
The service’s two modified ambulances require specialist equipment suitable for the treatment and transfer of very young infants, each individual piece of equipment costing tens of thousands of pounds.
Ashley and Paul have chosen to fundraise for NWTS in support of their colleague Kristian Clowes as the service saved the life of his young daughter, Poppy. Kris’s daughter was born with heart problems but thanks to the incredible service from NWTS the team managed to keep her alive throughout her transfer to hospital.
Ashley said: “I’ve ran the 10k six times before, and always in full kit. Last year we also carried the ladder, which made it even more difficult! The uniform is very, very warm and we have to make sure we drink a lot of water – you can wring out the jackets afterwards with the sweat. We fill our pockets with water so we can stay hydrated on the way round.
“We love doing the 10k run as it’s a fantastic atmosphere, with all Manchester roads closed off and dedicated to the run, it is great to run with the iconic buildings and scenery.”
Paul adds: “As a Liverpool fan I always run a little bit faster past Old Trafford! We always do a sprint finish at the end on Deansgate and stick together so we are both finishing at the same time.
“We wanted to step up our game a little bit this year, and with it being the first half marathon we were excited to try it – it is also a double whammy because we can support Kris and NWTS, when the half marathon distance gets tough we will think of why we are doing this which will keep us going.”
Lucy Naylor, Events Manager at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity said: “Ashley and Paul have certainly set themselves a challenge with this run; it’s demanding enough taking on a half marathon, never mind whilst wearing a full fire kit.
"It’s a lovely gesture that they have chosen to support NWTS in support of their colleague. The NWTS service is absolutely vital in transporting extremely poorly children from across the whole of the North West and North Wales. Their fundraising will make a valuable contribution in ensuring the service can be the best it possibly can be.”
Although entries to the half marathon are closed to the public, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity still have places left for the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run Half Marathon. For more information and to register visit www.rmchcharity.org.uk/events/great-manchester-run-17