RUNNING a marathon can be the pinnacle achievement for amateur runners and ramblers.

Participants endure months of gruelling training, grit and determination in their quest to complete the 26-mile routes.

For Steve Blair, simply completing the marathon distance of the Allendale Challenge wasn’t enough. He wanted to push himself even further.

Although the annual event, due to take place in April, was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Steve was determined to fulfill his fund-raising goals and complete the route.

While raising money for the Fire Fighters Charity he completed the marathon in full fire service uniform, equipment and breathing apparatus.

“I knew it would be hard, but when I got to the first checkpoint I realised it was much tougher than I anticipated,” he said.

“There was steam coming off the suit.”

Determined to battle the uncomfortable conditions, Steve said he kept his head down and powered through the pain barrier.

“After I left the chimneys and walked towards Ninebanks it was alright because it was all down hill,” he explained.

High up in the hills of the Allen Valleys throughout the day, Steve experienced blazing sunshine and stifling heart to thick fog and poor visibility.

He said: “The fog really came in at the halfway point. We followed the Allendale Challenge route as best as we could, but some changes were made to avoid us getting lost due to the weather.

The gruelling achievement is a big change to Steve’s usual work at the Twice Brewed Inn pub on Hadrian’s Wall.

Taking on the challenge with his 16-year-old son Lewis and friends and Allendale firemen David Habberjam and Matty Robson, Steve praised the support he received throughout the 26 miles.

The decision to fund-raise for the Fire Fighters Charity was chosen by Steve because of the work local fire service crews carry out.

He said: “The Allendale fire service are really important and have been doing some great work recently including the Haydon Bridge forest fire and the large Allendale house fire.

“I was also quite shocked at how a lot of firefighters who took part in the London Grenfell Tower recovery were criticised.”

Steve crossed the finish line after 12 hours walking through the Allen Valleys terrain, and was greeted with open arms by his wife at the finish.

Regular Allendale Challenge traditions of a finish line and a post event pint in the pub had to be scrapped though, and the trio settled for a can of lager instead.

The fund-raiser has since raised more than £1,200 after the trio completed the challenge.