A firefighter from Lichfield is not content merely with the daunting task of covering over 13 miles in the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run – he is also planning to carry a 20kg dummy on his shoulders around the course.

Arturs Grotans, aged 30, is raising money for three charities at the run on October 14th, including Cure Leukaemia, having been inspired by a colleague’s girlfriend’s battle with the disease.

“It made me realise that she faces challenges every day,” he said.

“I have seen how difficult it is for them both and I decided I wanted to do something that would go some way to helping others in the same situation.”

Originally from Latvia, Arturs discovered a love of running when he joined the Army in 2007.

His training for next month’s event has already included daily circuit training, endurance and strength training, and tackling distances with a weighted backpack, in preparation for the ‘dummy’.

“When I started, I improved very quickly and found I could run for quite a long time,” said Arturs.

“Now my job as a firefighter means that I have to stay fit to carry out my duties and at work, I get to train for an hour every day.

“I live ten miles from work so I often run to or from my shift and have slowly increased the weights I’m carrying.

“I also run with the dummy on the treadmill at the station and will be building up my distance in the build-up to the event.

“I ran the Lichfield Half Marathon previously in full fire kit in one hour and 58 minutes – this time I will be in full kit but with the addition of a casualty dummy that weighs about the same as a teenager so I expect it will take me over two hours.”

Arturs, who puts a lot of his fitness down to the vegan diet he has been following since January, is also hoping for plenty of support from his colleagues from the Tamworth station.

“There is nothing quite like that feeling you get when you are cheered on throughout a race – it gives you that extra boost,” he added.

“For me, it’s not about doing it in the fastest time, it’s about finishing and raising money for three charities that are all very close to my heart.

“It’s not about competing, it’s about challenging yourself, even if that means walking the last mile.”

Attracting thousands of runners from all over the country, the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run will kick off from its new starting point in Broad Street on Sunday, October 14 taking in iconic sights such as the Selfridges building, Edgbaston Stadium, Cannon Hill Park and Cadbury World along the way.

The popular 13.1-mile run also features the popular Business Challenge, which invites office teams to compete for fastest-time trophies and helps CSR commitments, raising funds for company charities or foundations, or simply boosting office morale and team spirit in the workplace.