Marathon challenge for Essex firefighter
An Essex firefighter will be running not one, but two marathon challenges in the next two months to raise vital funds for the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT).
It is the first time the dad-of-three will be running marathon distances. Dave was inspired to take on the challenge in aid of EHAAT after seeing the work of the emergency helicopter crew first-hand.
Dave says: “I work alongside the Air Ambulance Crew at Road Traffic Collisions (RTC) about six times a year. As firefighters, our job is to safely take the patient out of the vehicles and stabilise the vehicles. While we are 100% confident in our own jobs, it’s a relief when the Air Ambulance arrives on the scene. It is reassuring to know they can give us advanced medical advice when removing the patient from the vehicle.
“At the Fire Service we already work with the fire cadets to raise awareness, volunteer and fundraise for the Air Ambulance, so it was an obvious choice to select them as my chosen charity. My mindset is why wait until I need them to support them – I should support them before that happens.”
Dave, of Brightlingsea, joined the Essex Fire and Rescue Service 10 years ago as an on-call firefighter at Brightlingsea Fire Station, responding to calls via a pager. He is now based at Essex Fire Service’s Headquarters in Kelvedon where he works within their award-winning Firebreak programme, as well as managing Wivenhoe Fire Station.
He admits he was previously “anti-running”, choosing instead to use weights in the gym. He explains: “I’d maybe use the treadmill as a warm up, but other than that I tended to shy away from it. I’ve taken part in other fitness challenges, such as Tough Guy, Spartan Race and Survival Of The Fittest, but they were eight years ago. It’s been nice to switch it up and try running – I feel better for it and I want to try and carry on after the London Marathon.”
Dave, who is one of the Charity’s Gold Bond runners for London Marathon, began training in November last year with a work colleague who was formerly in the army. Over the months he has slowly but surely built up his fitness by running a few more miles each week.
Dave is charting his journey on Instagram where he is picking up useful tips from other runners. He says: “The Fire Service has been really supportive. Our Chief has completed the London Marathon before, and so he is giving me advice and feedback. I’m now starting to look into what I need to do energy wise to keep my levels up. We have to maintain fitness for the Fire Service and I think I’m quite mentally strong. So if I hit six miles one week, I’ll know I have to hit eight the next.”
Dave has already begun fundraising, holding events in his mum’s art studio, bucket collections at work and planned charity car washes when the weather gets warmer.
Dave added: “We held a Pudding Club at the studio recently and people came along, tried lots of different puddings, enjoy some entertainment, all for £25 ticket. We raised about £1,042 from this event alone.
“I do have to explain to some people that the Air Ambulance is a charity and that it needs our support to continue its life-saving work. My whole motivation comes from seeing and appreciating the work that the Air Ambulance Crew does, and what additional assistance they bring to an emergency incident.”
Sabi Stafford, Essex Fundraising Manager at Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, said: “We are thrilled that Dave has chosen to run for us at both the Colchester Half Marathon and London Marathon, where is one of our Gold Bond participants.
“It is thanks to the dedication and support of people like Dave that our Charity can continue saving lives across the area. We wish Dave the best of luck and will be cheering him on. “