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Pilot powers through 50 mile cross-country run for Air Ambulance charities

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) and Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) pilot, Marcus Doyle, ran 50 miles cross-country on Saturday 9th June to raise money for both charities.

Marcus set off from Thames Valley’s airbase at RAF Benson early on Saturday morning (09:30) and completed the epic challenge 9 hours and 50 minutes later, crossing the finish line at Thruxton airbase, the home of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, at 19:20.

He was welcomed by a cheering crowd of friends, family and Charity staff, who laid on a celebratory party and handed him a cold beer! After completing the cross-country challenge, he said “Today started well and got more unpleasant as it went on really! But saying that, the weather was good, although hot, the route was really pretty. A couple of bigger hills than I’d have liked but great scenery and I passed way too many pubs without stopping! So all in all, a pretty satisfying day I’d say.

“At about the 35-mile point, I was really feeling the effort and got quite a lot of cramping from that point, but I got to the end!”

“Luckily I had a support team that joined me in my village, about 7 and a half miles from the end, so some of the locals, who also sponsored me, said they’d run the last bit. They were really the encouragement team to get me to the end because I was getting more and more weary as we got to the last miles. They had the music playing, they kept the encouragement going.”

“Running into Thruxton airfield, you kind of think ‘Great we’re there now!’ But no, you’ve still got a little way to run around the airfield to get to the Airbase. So it was even further than I expected to do that last little bit, but it was nice to see the Airbase entrance that’s for sure.”

“I don’t think I’ll repeat this in a hurry, but it was nice to get to the end and do it in this time!”

Marcus is an incredibly experienced pilot. He completed pilot training with the RAF in 1991 and spent 9 years flying the Chinook helicopter on operations and exercises worldwide. He joined Babcock International in 2015 as a HEMS pilot, initially flying at various HEMS locations around the UK, before joining the HIOWAA team permanently in November 2015.

Marcus crossed through four counties during his 50-mile challenge, starting in Oxfordshire, he ran through Berkshire, Wiltshire and finished in Hampshire! His fundraising has now passed £2,000.

Alex Lochrane, Chief Executive of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance commented “We’re all immensely proud of what Marcus has achieved. He knows as much as anyone in the Air Ambulance community, just how vital the service is. It’s a truly outstanding effort and the money he has raised will make a difference to both charities. Congratulations Marcus!”


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