RUNNING a marathon is seen as the pinnacle achievement for amateur runners throughout the country.

It can involve months of gruelling training, grit and determination.

For Steve Blair, who owns the Twice Brewed Inn on Hadrian's Wall, was prepared to turn the 26-mile run into an even harder challenge.

Setting up a JustGiving fund-raising page, Steve proposed walking the route of the annual Allendale Challenge event in full fire service uniform, equipment and breath apparatus.

Although this year's Allendale Challenge event was cancelled due to coronavirus Steve was determined to fulfill his fund-raising goal.

"I said why don't I do it in full fire fighters kit and raise money for charity," he said.

The importance of the local fire service was brought to Steve's attention after the recent Haydon Bridge forest fire and Allendale house fire.

Steve added: "I knew it would be hard, but when I got to the first checkpoint I realised it was much harder than I ever imagined."

Aided by his son Lewis (16) and friend David Habberjam the trio set off from Allendale in good weather conditions.

But conditions quickly took a turn for Steve in his full fire suit. He explained: "When we got up to the first checkpoint at the Allendale Chimneys it was so hot.

"There was steam coming off my suit when I took it off.

"Wearing the uniform for 12 hours was hard and I did not think it would be as bad as it was.

"At Ninebanks it was good because it was all downhill, but walking uphill it was hard."

Despite the heat, Steve said he kept his head down and powered through the pain barrier throughout the route.

Any marathon event in the Tyne Valley that tackles steep terrain is expected to provide unpredictable weather, and the group began to experience thick fog at the halfway point.

"We followed the Allendale Challenge route as best as we could, but some changes had to be made."

Reflecting on the challenge after crossing the finish line after 12 hours Steve said he had initially underestimated the timings of the event, due to the fact the equipment was so heavy, but was proud of the achievement.

The normal Allendale Challenge traditions of a finish line pint in the Golden Lion were unable to be adhered to, but the group instead treated themselves to a well-earned can of lager.

The group have raised more than £1,200 for the Fire Fighters Charity after completing the challenge.