A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) senior paramedic has become one of the top ultra-runners in the world.
Paul Maskell, 41, competed at the 24 Hour World Championships in France and managed to run an incredible 156 miles (251km).
He was the first British man in 15th place, after running as far as he could against hundreds of other athletes.
The SWASFT Operations Officer regularly runs 11 miles between home in St Austell and work in Bodmin in between 12-hour shifts.
He was selected in a team of six UK men for the race on October 26-27 after running 154 miles (248km) at another 24-hour event in London.
Paul said: “I loved doing the race. To be able to compete in a world championship was such an amazing experience, and it was a real honour to represent Great Britain. Putting on the vest was such a proud moment.
“There were highs and lows during the 24 hours. It’s a case of enjoying the highs and battling through the lows by remembering family and friends and having the willpower to keep going. We were running in 27-degree heat during the daytime. I was also encouraged by the team atmosphere in what is usually an individual event.”
He was cheered on by a group of 10 school friends who travelled to France for the event.
Paul said: “They flew out and surprised me. I saw them all standing beside the track wearing specially-made t-shifts. They stayed for the whole 24 hours which was a huge boost to me and the other athletes. It was quite emotional at the finish line.
“I lost a toenail during the race and had sore feet afterwards. Apart from that, I felt great!”
Paul, who has worked for the ambulance service for almost 20 years, said: “I’ve never had any serious injuries, and have never had to take a sick day off work.
“Although I love my job, when I returned to work for a night shift there was definitely a feeling of ‘back to reality’.
“Since the race I’ve already done a 10km event in Newquay raising money for Cornwall Air Ambulance.”
“I’m going to keep on running and hope to get re-elected next year.”
The Great British team finished 4th overall and narrowly missed out on a bronze medal.
Since 2012 Paul has competed in multiple long-distance and ultra-distance runs, including the London Marathon and 100-mile events.
He has won several ultra-runs in recent years, including the Arc of Attrition along the coast path from Coverack in South East Cornwall.
Jo James, who works with Paul, said: “The race was an extraordinary physical and mental challenge.
“We’ve been so excited by Paul’s journey and have been supporting him all the way. His selection was an achievement in itself. But for him to finish among the top endurance athletes in the world was phenomenal.”