11 Marathons In 11 Days

Two Hampshire firefighters have completed a gruelling long-distance challenge to raise awareness for organ donation.

Crew manager Stuart Vince and firefighter Phil Jackson, both from Blue Watch at Cosham fire station, ran the distance of 11 marathons in 11 days, from Portsmouth to Land’s End. 

The plan was then to row along the coast back to Portsmouth but unpredictable weather meant the pair had to complete the return journey by kayak, bike and on foot.  

Stuart said: “Finishing the challenge was a brilliant sense of achievement. 

“We wanted to push ourselves to the limit and it was unquestionably the hardest thing we have ever done.”

Stuart decided to take on the daunting challenge after saving a friend's life by donating one of his own kidneys last year.

The Hampshire firefighters set off from the Queen Alexandra Hospital on May 20 and were welcomed home by a cheering crowd at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth on June 8. 

En route, the pair were joined by colleagues from the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for different legs of the journey.

Big Donor Challenge spokesperson Julie Benford said the efforts of the Hampshire team would raise more than £10,000, which will be donated to the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Southampton General Hospital and the Wessex Kidney Association. 

400 people were also signed up as donors during the challenge. 

Stuart said: “We really wanted to drum up support for organ donation and all the stations we visited were extremely receptive.”