A determined Berkshire firefighter is urging the public to help spur him over the finish line of his extraordinary endurance series as he prepares to embark on its ambitious finale.
Andy Grist, from White Watch at Slough fire station, will run five 40-mile ultra-marathons in five days as he completes ‘The 14 Challenge’ – a series of 14 gruelling events he has taken part in throughout 2014 to raise funds for The Fire Fighters Charity and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Andy is rallying the public for one final wave of support to crank up his current £4,000 fundraising total ahead of his toughest test yet.
The firefighter will set off from the Make-A-Wish Foundation head office in Camberley on Tuesday 9 December for a mammoth 200-mile journey to The Fire Fighters Charity’s Harcombe House rehabilitation centre in Devon.
“Running 40 miles really takes it out of your body,” he said. “Most people need four to six weeks to recover from an ultra-marathon, but I’m looking at doing five in five days.
“My wife Alia is a physio and will be acting as a support driver for this final challenge, and Watch Manager Steve Whiteside, from Caversham Road fire station is planning to join me for one of the days.
“I’ve had great support all year from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the charity and the public – it’s all much appreciated.
“To date, I’ve completed 11 of my 14 challenges and am less than 100 miles away from finishing another of running 2,014 miles in 2014.”
Andy’s successes this year have included paddling 126-miles of the River Thames in three days, running a 69-mile ultra-marathon of Hadrian’s Hall and completing a freezing 24km trek across SAS selection terrain. Earlier this month he scaled consecutive mountain peaks in the Welsh 3000s Challenge.
When training began he couldn’t ride a bike, he had never swum more than 200m and never run a marathon.
Last month he demonstrated how far he has come in this extraordinary year by tackling the arduous Isle of Wight Challenge, which involved kayaking eight miles across the Solent before cycling 22 miles and running 27 miles across the island.
To read more about Andy’s year, search for The 14 Challenge on Facebook and Twitter, or offer your support at www.virginmoneygiving.com/the14challenge.