Retained firefighter Ian Norris dug deep to complete his fifth and final London Marathon yesterday and raise vital funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Ian, of Royal Wootton Bassett, was selected for Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s place in the event and he ran it in memory of Royal Wootton Bassett GP Dr Jerry Marshall.

Temperatures at the London Marathon were the hottest on record at 24 degrees Celsius and Ian sustained an injury to his hamstring just before the halfway point of the race. Despite this, he crossed the line in a very creditable time of 4:40:26.

Ian, 42, and who works in vehicle quality at Honda in Swindon, said: “The conditions were brutal. It was really, really hot. There were runners who were unable to complete the marathon and were stretchered off. It was the hardest marathon I’ve run, both physically and mentally.

“I’d had niggling injuries in training and my calf was tight but it eased off in the first mile, but at mile 11 my hamstring cramped and I hobbled on. I got over Tower Bridge, which was just before the halfway point of the race, and I didn’t think I was going to finish.

“But I ran, walked, ran, walked the rest of the race. What kept me going was that it was my final London Marathon and I didn’t want to let down people who have supported me and donated to Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

“I was really happy when I crossed the finishing line and I had a lump in my throat. It is the slowest time I have run the London Marathon, but what mattered the most was finishing it and getting the medal.

I’ve also raised a good amount of money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and I’d like to thank everyone who supported me.”

Ian was buoyed by seeing his wife, daughter, son and parents during the race and said the crowd also provided great encouragement.

Ian, who has been a retained firefighter for 14 years, also praised the organisers, marshalls and volunteers at the event.

With donations still to come in, Ian said he has surpassed his target of £2,500 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Donations can still be made by going to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=NORRO

Kenresa Stratford, Fundraising and Events Coordinator at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We are so proud of Ian for completing what was an incredibly tough London Marathon. His determination to go through the pain barrier to finish it is inspiring.

“The funds he has raised will help to keep our helicopter and crew flying and saving lives and we thank him so much for supporting us. We’d also like to thank other runners who obtained their own places in the London Marathon and raised funds for us, including Helen Gibbs of our Charity of the Year corporate partner Deceuninck and Laura Wilson.”

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