I have personally used the charity when I spent 2 weeks in Penrith for a shoulder and back injury that kept me from working for a few months. I have also seen an ever increasing number of my colleagues receive treatment from the charity over the years. With the recent pension changes meaning that firefighters may have to work until they are 60, I think that the charity will play a part in many more firefighter’s lives in the coming years.

On the journey back from charity headquarters in Basingstoke to Cambridgeshire last September I was not so daunted by the thought of all the training that lay ahead as I was about raising the required £2000. I aimed to get most of it raised before my training planner kicked in a week before Christmas. I have struggled with fundraising, partly because people that I know say “that will be a breeze for you, it’s not even a challenge”. I haven’t a clue where they get that idea from as prior to this I had never even run a half marathon before!

The training plan consists of 4 runs a week, 2 short ones either side of a medium one and a long run at the weekend. One of the best long runs that I have done so far was on New Year’s Eve, fuelled on sausage rolls, Pringles and beer after a week of eating and drinking. Who needs gels and Lucozade!

I knew the training would take dedication, time and effort but I possibly underestimated just how much of each it would take. For 18 weeks, everything is geared up for one day. If I am not running then I am strength training, stretching, foam rolling or doing core exercises. Now the miles have increased I am trying to get more rest and sleep but my two young children and night shifts have other ideas! There have been some early starts and definitely some cold runs, however, strangely not once has it rained during a run so far.

I would be lying if I said that some of the midweek runs haven’t been a chore, but mostly it has been a really enjoyable challenge. No one said it was going to be easy but it’s totally worthwhile.

I might be using the charity sooner rather than later after this is all over!

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