It's a far cry from the rain-lashed moorland of a typical call-out, but six members of English mountain rescue teams are hoping to put their hill fitness to use by running the 2014 London Marathon on Sunday 13 April. They have a combined fundraising target of £10,000 for Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW).
Neil Woodhead, the team’s coordinator and a member of MREW’s Executive Committee, was keen to get an MREW team together for 2014.
'The London Marathon places came to us via our Royal Patron and the Princes’ Charities Forum' he said, 'and I’m pleased we’ve been able to find runners to fill all the places. We’ve now got six runners from six different Mountain Search and Rescue teams. Some of them are very experienced but, for three of them, this will be their first time in the London Marathon.'
Dan Case of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Plymouth is running the event for the first time – it’s his first ever marathon – and the same is true for Dave Hadden of Kinder Mountain Rescue Team and Jon Jones of the Derby team (who is really a mountain biker and has only been running for a year).
The team is completed by Mike Woodcock of Scarborough and Ryedale MRT in North Yorkshire, Pete Bradley from Calder Valley SRT in West Yorkshire and Alasdair Cowell, a regular fell runner and a member of Glossop MRT in the Peak District.
On top of regular day jobs and being on call 24/7 for MRT duties, the six runners have obviously got to get in a bit of training.
'Finding the time to fit marathon training in is a challenge' says Dave Hadden.
'Hopefully our regular trips up into the hills on rescues, searches and training exercises with the all the heavy equipment that we need in mountain rescue will help build up the stamina we need to reach the finish line.'
Neil Woodhead hopes the £10K fundraising target will be achievable through plenty advance publicity [ie. this sort of thing, Ed.] and public support.
'We really appreciate the support – both in kind and financial – that we get from our local communities but I am hoping that the London Marathon effort will raise the profile elsewhere in the country' he says.
'We know that there’s a lot of interest out there. This should raise our profile and also generate support from people who visit the hills of England and Wales from our towns and cities and who would like to show their appreciation in a small way.'
Donations can be made through the team’s Virgin Money Giving page, which also includes further details of their respective MRTs