Brave runners tough it out in Only The Brave mud obstacle run in Elveden Estate to raise thousands for region’s air ambulance
- Credit: Archant
Most people will spend a warm weekend basking in the sun with a refreshing beverage, but a force of brave runners are fighting through Elveden's tough terrain to raise thousands for East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).
The final day of the charity mud run Only the Brave is underway, with this year being described by organisers as 'bigger, better and muddier than ever before'.
Shaun Dack, 46, ran the 10-mile course this morning and was the first to cross the finish line - at one hour and 22 minutes - despite feeling slightly worse for wear.
Mr Dack said: 'I was running with a friend and he came third, as long as I've beaten him that's all that matters.
'It was difficult but I enjoyed it, and I'm hungover which didn't help, I probably could've been a lot quicker.
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'This is for a good cause, everyone loves the air ambulance.'
Chief executive of EAAA, Patrick Peal, said he is hopeful that this year's event will raise more than £100,000 for the air ambulance, adding: 'We've had 1,500 people taking part over two days, we know we are going to exceed what we achieved last year.
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'It's lovely to see everyone here enjoying their day despite being absolutely sopping wet from head to toe.
'This is a major fundraising event for us and it gets people actively involved. There are patients and families here doing it to say thank you to the air ambulance. It means a lot to people to take part.'
New additions to this year's obstacle course includes monkey bars over a muddy pit, a water slide leading into a pond and a 20 yard reservoir bank which participants have to run up and down 12 times.
EAAA communications manager Dian Warman said: 'It's a fantastic community event and it means a lot to us. We are publicly funded so everything we get goes towards saving lives.'
First to cross the finish line in the morning 10-mile race on Saturday, April 1, was Daniel Heath, 26, from Haverhill. He completed the course in one hour and two minutes.
Mr Heath said: 'I do a lot of these races; through hard work and training you can do anything if you put your head to it.
'The best parts were the obstacles and running through the forest - it was nice to be away from the roads and running in what felt like the middle of nowhere.'
Mr Heath said he planned to run again today with eight friends but would take a more relaxed approach, adding: 'I will run round and have fun rather than having my head down and competing. I'll be throwing them over the obstacles.
'It's a great cause, I really appreciate everything the air ambulance do. My girlfriend works in West Suffolk Hospital and they need the help from the air ambulance.'
EAAA consultant Dr Neil Berry came second in the race yesterday with fellow doctor Dave Potter and pilot Rich Anderson.
Mr Berry said: 'We can only do our jobs if events like this happen, I'm proud of everybody here.'
The obstacle course runs through Elveden Estate near Thetford Forest, with participants braving monkey bars, ponds, ditches and muddy woodlands on five- or 10-mile courses.
EAAA operates two high-tech helicopters from its Norwich and Cambridge bases every day of the year.
The charity's doctor and critical-care paramedic teams treat patients with life-threatening or life-changing emergencies at the scene of an accident or emergency, before transferring patients to the appropriate hospital rapidly.