Portsmouth firefighters raise more than £1,000 for charities by taking on Midnight Mountain Marathon

HIGH temperatures and tough conditions were no match for five firefighters taking on a gruelling marathon for charity.

Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 5:39 pm
Updated Monday, 5th August 2019, 5:32 pm
Firefighters Steve Roberts, Jack Salter-Vaile, George Hart, Ryan Matthews and Graeme Dobson presented a cheque to A Band of Brothers after taking on the Midnight Mountain Marathon

Taking runners through forests, past waterfalls and up mountains, the Midnight Mountain Marathon in the Brecon Beacons was a big task to take on.

Cosham firefighters Steve Roberts, Jack Salter-Vaile, George Hart, Ryan Matthews, and Gosport firefighter Graeme Dobson faced the challenge to support the Fire Fighters Charity and Portsmouth A Band of Brothers.

Runner Graeme said: ‘None of us anticipated 28C heat out to Talybont-on-Usk for the start. Thankfully [it] was an evening start but still massively humid.

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Firefighters Steve Roberts, Jack Salter-Vaile, George Hart, Ryan Matthews and Graeme Dobson presented a cheque to A Band of Brothers after taking on the Midnight Mountain Marathon

‘As we began to climb we were pleased to see cloud closing in and were blessed with cooler temperatures.’

This extreme event saw challengers start at 5.30pm and aim to finish before the midnight cut-off, with obstacles including a 2,907ft ascent of Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales, and part of the Fan Dance which is the run taken on by potential members of British Special Forces as part of their selection process.

Graeme said: ‘The route consisted of tough rocky terrain at times where each foot placement had to be accurately judged leading to most of us stumbling or falling over at some point.’

Before long, a difficult decision lay ahead for the group: ‘I was racing as a pair with Ryan Matthews but the hills and heat had got the better of him 10 miles in and we made the difficult decision for him to run alongside our team of three,’ said Graeme.

Wanting to try his best for his first marathon, Graeme took the tough decision to continue on his own.

The 42-year-old said: ‘Had Ryan been at his best we would have placed first in the pairs with a time of four hours 50 minutes, a time I was elated to achieve just as darkness was closing in.

‘Our team of three also did amazingly well, placing second with a time of five hours 40 minutes, well within beating the midnight cut off.’

The group felt a great sense of achievement after completing the challenge, and were pleased to raise £1,150 for the Fire Fighters Charity and A Band of Brothers.