Firefighter is ready to tackle ultra-marathon for charities

Huntingdon firefighter Paul Oliver

Huntingdon firefighter Paul Oliver - Credit: Archant

A firefighter based in Huntingdon is planning on taking part in an ultra marathon across the Pennine Way to raise funds for causes close to his heart.

Paul Oliver, station commander within the on-call support team at Huntingdon Fire Station, will be running the 53-mile, Pennine Barrier Ultra on Saturday.

With an ascent of 2,590 metres (8,497 feet), the ultra marathon is about equivalent to climbing Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, twice.

Paul said he is using the ultra as a milestone marker for when he completes the 214-mile non-stop Race Across Scotland next Summer.

For the Pennine Barrier Ultra, Paul will be taking part with his brother David. There will be up to 150 competitors, all required to finish in less than 15 hours.

“It is going to be difficult because you are doing a lot of climbing but this ultra is a bit of a milestone for me because it will tell me where I am in terms of my level of fitness. I will also be testing out new kit that I want to run in for the Race Across Scotland next year.

“There is a 15-hour cut off and there are other factors too, like the weather, that all play a part but it will give me an idea of the terrain I will be facing in Scotland.”

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Paul, who is a member of the Riverside Runners, in St Neots, said it has been hard to prepare for because of the flat terrain in Cambridgeshire.

Paul will be running other ultra marathons ahead of the 214-mile non-stop Race Across Scotland next year which he describes as “the biggest physical challenge of my life so far”.

Paul first got into ultra marathon running nine years ago, when he ran the Marathon des Sables, which takes place in southern Morocco in the Sahara Desert.

An ultra is any race over the

length of a marathon and Paul and his brother, David, ran their first ultra together to raise money for charity after David was diagnosed with skin cancer.

For the Race Across Scotland, Paul is raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity, MacMillan Cancer Support and the children’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent.

If you would like to donate money to one or all of Paul’s causes, please visit