'It was a true honour': Former paratrooper Paul Freear conquers Run to Pegasus challenge for charity to mark 75th D-Day anniversary
PUBLISHED: 11:11 25 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:11 25 June 2019
A former paratrooper from Wimblington has raised more than £2000 for a veteran's charity after running 75 miles to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Paul Freear, 32, took on the 'Run to Pegasus' challenge, running 62 miles in 24 hours and a further 13 miles eight hours after.
The personal trainer, who now runs FE Fitness, was the fourth person to cross the finish line in 15 hours and four minutes on June 5.
The challenge started at Tarrant Rushton airfield in Dorset then on to Caen in France before arriving at Pegasus Bridge in Normandy to an inspirational welcome.
Paul said: "It was super tough with it being three miles short of three marathons in 24 hours but I was really pleased with coming fourth place across the line considering it was my first ever ultra marathon.
"Once we hobbled off the ferry, we had a three mile walk to Pegasus Bridge and when we arrived at the bridge we were greeted with more than 600 people cheering and clapping as we were led over by bagpipes and drums.
"None of us were expecting such a welcome so it was a moment I'll never forget."
The runners also stopped off at two memorials in Normandy, with the chance to reflect and pay tribute to those who lost their lives serving.
"I lay a wreath at the grave of Pte R.E. Johns who was a paratrooper and only 16 when he was killed in Normandy," Paul continued.
"It was a true honour to lay the wreath and salute to this young hero.
"He joined at the age of 14 and lied about his age so he could serve; which is something that I find so hard to relate to the generation we live in today."
Paul has raised £2825 so far, which is £1825 above his original target.
Every penny raised will provide support to veterans who are struggling in life after leaving the military.
"I am absolutely blown away by the generosity from everyone who has donated," Paul added.
"During the three days we were away the organiser of the veterans charity had nine ex-servicemen who got in contact asking for desperate help, so it shows how many veterans are suffering once they have left the military.
"There is still time to donate if anyone who reads this would like to, we have until September for all the donations to be in by."
To donate visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulFreear