PC Paul shows the riot way to run a half marathon!

By Ben Fitzgerald - 29 August 2018

  • PC Paul Croft in full protection gear

    PC Paul Croft in full protection gear

PC Paul Croft, who's run through the Sahara desert in 40 degrees heat, is now looking forward to his next running challenge - completing this year's Swindon Half Marathon in full police protection uniform.

Paul, who is based at Royal Wootton Bassett police station, is no stranger to running challenges having chalked up a number of half marathon, marathons and ultra-marathons in the past six years since he started running in 2012. 

Paul said: "I decided to start running by doing the Bristol 10K in the Olympic year. Since then I have done 20 marathons and the big one, the Marathon De Sables in the Sahara - covering 256 km in a week in scorching temperatures during the day and minus figures at night."  

The officer, who joined Wiltshire Police in 2017, will be running for the mental health charity MIND to highlight the challenges faced by people struggling with mental health issues. 

"I'm going to do it in full kit, which includes heavy body armour, a riot shield, baton, visor helmet, big boots and protective overalls - all weighing more than 30kgs in total,  to show that although I may be feeling uncomfortable doing the race this is nothing compared to the daily challenges of mental health issues."

Wiltshire Police has recently re-signed the Blue Light Time to Change Pledge where the Force agrees to back the Blue Light Programme - promoting a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and well-being advice to staff and officers.

Paul said:  "It will take a lot of mental strength to get through this but this ties in with the Blue Light ethos.  
"I think the Blue Light Programme is a really good idea because it supports anyone on a day to day basis.  As a police officer, you have to look after yourself and this one of many ways if you are struggling.
"I am so impressed with this scheme I've also recently become a Blue Light Champion myself to help others." 

He's being supported by a number of his colleagues including Chief Constable Kier Pritchard who is also running the 13.1 mile course on Sunday 9 September.   

Paul is also hoping to become a world record holder if he completes the race in under two and a half hours - the current world record:  "I contacted the Guinness Book of World Records and they have accepted my attempt for the fastest half marathon in full police protection gear, if I do it in less than two and a half hours I'll be a record breaker. 

"It'll be a big challenge but I'm prepared to give it a go.

"Training has been tricky as I can't take a baton and shield with me when I'm pounding the streets - just imagine the reaction I'd get if people saw me running on my own with all that kit on.  I think people might call 999 to report me!" 

Despite the limitations on training - Paul is confident he can complete the course and do it in a good time.

Paul can be sponsored via his JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-croft12 or you can text donate by texting PCSW 99 £5 to 70070. 

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