Cornish paramedic to embark on Arctic ultra-marathon for air ambulance
By aliceintruro | Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 10:38
Self confessed reluctant runner Mark Fuszard who is a paramedic for The Cornwall Air Ambulance has now embarked on the Arctic 6633 Ultra Marathon event to raise money for the charity.
Mark Fuszard in action on the Arctic 6633 ultra-marathon
"It's my wife's fault." Said Mark "I was sitting down watching the TV when I saw a programme about James Cracknell running a desert ultra-marathon.
"I commented that I would like to do something like that and she said, why don't you then?
"I signed up for and completed the Namib Desert Challenge, running five marathons in five days in 40 degree desert heat and raising over £8000 for the charity."
Marks latest epic journey will see him leave Eagle Plains in Canada on Friday March 22 racing 352 miles, crossing the Arctic Circle before finishing at Tuktoyaktuk.
"It's pretty gruelling obviously and to date only six people have every finished the whole thing but I am determined to fly St Piran's flag at the finish line.
The route largely follows the roads that the ice truckers use and we will be trekking in temperatures as low as minus 70 with wind chill.
"The hardest part will be regulating my body temperature because if you sweat at those temperatures you are in big trouble due to it freezing.
"Frostbite is also a big concern as Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been testament to recently.
"I will have to carry everything that I need in a sledge from tents and sleeping equipment to food and spare clothes."
Mark has been training by putting the miles in but he isn't the keenest of runners so resorts to pulling tyres along the Goss Moor trail to build up his strength.
"I run because I need to be fit for these kinds of expeditions. I'm not one of those people that looks forward to it For me it's all about the challenge.
"Luckily my wife is really supportive of me which enables me to do these crazy things.
"Some of the training is very odd, it's not just about putting miles in.
"It's about getting used to daily routines such as erecting my bivy, having a hot meal, and getting dressed in extremely low temperatures.
"It all has to be rehearsed over and over again so it becomes second nature.
"I get cold scraping the ice off the car at home in Cornwall so that preparation will be just as vital as pounding pavements."
Mark is hoping to raise £10,000 for the charity that is obviously close to Mark's heart, having just flown his 2000th mission.
"The air ambulance is a vital service, without it parts of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly would be far more isolated medically.
"Since I joined in 2006 patient care has improved thanks to generous fundraising by of the people of Cornwall.
"We need to keep it flying, saving time and saving lives."
Mark has set up a page at www.justgiving.com/Mark-Fuszard-6333 for anyone that wants to help him smash his target.
To find out more about supporting the Cornwall Air Ambulance visit http://www.timesaveslives.com