Swindon cop set to run London Marathon in full riot gear - for mental health charity

By Ben Fitzgerald - 25 April 2019

Charity

Wiltshire PC Paul Croft is attempting to break a world record when he runs the London Marathon on Sunday (28/04/19) in full body armour.

Paul, who's no stranger to a running challenge after completing a 250km ultra marathon in the heat of the Sahara, is to run the 26.2 miles around the capital in full police protection uniform. 

In September last year Paul, who is based at Royal Wootton Bassett police station, broke the world record for running a half marathon in Swindon in the same heavy kit.   

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 as well as raising money for the organisation.  

He said: "The full kit consists of heavy body armour, a riot shield, baton, visor helmet, big boots and protective overalls - all weighing more than 30kgs in total.  
"My aim is to show that although I may be feeling uncomfortable doing the race it's nothing compared to the daily challenges of mental health issues.
"Luckily, the weather conditions look ideal for the day so it shouldn't be too hot." 

Wiltshire Police is signed up to the Blue Light Programme which promotes a better understanding of mental health problems while offering help and well-being advice to staff and officers.

Paul said:  "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 you can do this - especially if you are having difficulties.
"My plan is to take part in a number of physical activities in the next year to try and raise as much money as possible for MIND." 

Paul is also hoping to become another world record holder for doing a marathon in full protection uniform - providing he completes the race in under five hours. 

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said:  "Having run the Swindon Half Marathon with Paul last year - I know how tough it can be to run and carry that sort of weight over 13.1 miles.  However, to do a full marathon in this sort of heavy kit is just mind-blowing.  
"I am in awe of Paul and his determination to complete this and his dedication to high-lighting mental health in the Force and in general.  
"Wiltshire Police's commitment to the Blue Light Time to Change Pledge shows that we as a Force are committed to helping any of our staff who may find themselves facing mental health issues - irrespective of what the challenge may be. 
"Good luck Paul - I and many of your colleagues will be thinking of you and willing you along on Sunday."

Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "Anyone who can run a marathon deserves our respect; however, to run this race in full body armour to highlight mental health is just humbling; it's a fantastic thing to do. 
"Signing up to the Blue Light Pledge is our way of supporting staff and officers who find themselves struggling with any problems linked to their mental health. 
"Paul's world record attempt will not only highlight the support available in our Force but also to the wider public; I wish Paul all the best for finishing in under five hours and smashing the record." 

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