A Royal Marine is set to take on the challenge of running 30 miles on the seafront ... while wearing a gas mask.

Paul Rowden is celebrating his 30th birthday by attempting to raise vital funds for CLIC Sargent and the Royal Marines Association.

Having completed the Three Peaks Challenge in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic last August while wearing a gas mask, Paul has decided to don the eye-catching headgear once again in yet another punishing task.

The south Essex resident is in the latter stages of his training for the 30-mile run which will take place on May 9.

The challenging run is the final instalment of the Royal Marines’ iconic commando tests.

Paul, 29, admits the fundraiser will not be as fun as some others he has tackled to support charities.

He said: “The 30-miler is quite an undertaking on its own, but the gas mask will add considerable discomfort.

“It will make it more difficult and, no doubt, a wholly unpleasant experience.

“Cancer has a devastating impact on many peoples’ lives and this devastation has been even more acute during the Covid-19 pandemic, with fundraising streams impacted.

“CLIC Sargent and the Royal Marines Association both support causes that are close to my heart and I hope the discomfort I am putting myself through can help to raise lots of money for the excellent work they do.”

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Paul has been inspired to raise funds for CLIC Sargent after a close friend’s son was diagnosed with childhood leukaemia last year.

Supported by a small team of friends, Paul will take on the challenge along the south Essex coast, with a stretch of the route taking him to Southend seafront and the iconic pier.

Paul has set himself the target of finishing inside six hours and Becky Clements, CLIC Sargent’s fundraising and engagement manager, is pleased to see him taking on the challenge for the charity.

She said: “We rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work, so we can’t thank Paul enough for his efforts.

“We can’t wait to see Paul take on this challenge. His support will enable us to help even more children and young people thrive, not just survive, after a cancer diagnosis.”

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Paul-Rowden3.