National Ventilation

National Ventilation’s Operations Director Completes D-Day 44 Challenge

  • 18 Jun 2024

Alan Parkinson, Operations Director at National Ventilation, has completed the D-Day 44 Challenge in aid of Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

On Thursday 6 June, to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in France, Alan ran 44 miles along the Normandy beaches that formed part of the landings, finishing his ultra marathon at the historic Pegasus Bridge. Alan finished the run in approximately 11 hours, two days after his 66th birthday. So far Alan has raised £2,005 for the charity Combat Stress.

National Ventilation

The charity helps former servicemen and women with mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression – doing so for over a century. Today, it provides specialist clinical treatment and support to veterans with complex mental health issues arising from military service.

Alan’s exploits

Working at National Ventilation for almost a decade, Alan coordinates the ventilation company’s logistics and distribution. The company is proud to support Alan in his charity runs. Alan’s latest successful run follows on from him completing the 26.2-mile 2023 TCS London Marathon last year, after his daughter initially encouraged him to do a Parkrun five years ago, leading to him joining Bridgwater District Road and Trail running club.

This year, the 44-mile route started at the Pointe du Hoc, continuing along the cliff top overlooking Omaha beach hugging the coastline to its destination point Pegasus Beach. The D-Day 44 Challenge ultra marathon tested Alan’s endurance even further than the London Marathon due to the longer distance and the varied elevation. This meant a bit of variety in tempo and hill running in training was necessary.

Determined

However, Alan was determined to complete the D-Day 44 Challenge on this historic 80th anniversary to honour the men and women who served while raising vital funds for Combat Stress to help them deliver their life-changing mental health treatment to veterans across the UK.

At one point, Alan could have comfortably finished the challenging run well within the 12-hour cut-off. But, one member of his small running group developed a foot injury around 10 miles from the finish. The organizers suggested pulling him out of the run, but another runner and Alan decided to stay with him and see him home. 

‘A tough run’

Alan Parkinson, Operations Director at National Ventilation, comments: “I am proud to have completed the D-Day 44 Challenge and to have raised valuable funds for Combat Stress. It was a tough run but I wanted to complete the 44-miles challenge in honour of our forefathers, as well as current servicemen and servicewomen who have bravely fought to protect our way of life, taking on the D-Day Challenge to raise funds for life-changing mental health treatment for veterans.”

Robin Francis, Managing Director at National Ventilation, says: “A huge congratulations to Alan for completing the D-Day 44 Challenge. We are delighted Alan decided to commemorate D-Day through this run and to raise funds to support mental health of veterans today.”

Robert Marsh, Director of Fundraising at Combat Stress, adds:We are so grateful to Alan for selflessly taking on this poignant challenge in aid of veterans’ mental health. 

“The money and awareness he has raised will help us to continue to provide our life-changing, and often life-saving, treatment to every veteran who needs it.”

About Combat Stress

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. Today, the charity provides specialist treatment and support for veterans from every service and conflict, focusing on those with complex mental health issues. During the year its Helpline received almost 16,000 calls, almost 50% of which were new callers.

Meanwhile, over 2000 family members have benefited from veterans directly receiving our specialist mental health support. The youngest veteran the charity supports is 22 years old. 46 is the average age a veteran seeks help. The oldest veteran the charity supports is 87 years old.

Combat Stress’ 24-hour Helpline 0800 138 1619 is available to all veterans and their families for confidential mental health advice and support. The charity also has a range of online self-guided resources, to help veterans with a variety of mental health difficulties, including: PTSD, depression, anxiety, anger, and alcohol and substance misuse.

These guides have been created by its specialist clinical team, in partnership with veterans. Guides are also available for veterans’ families and employers of veterans. Visit https://selfhelp.combatstress.org.uk

To donate to Alan Parkinson’s fundraising, visit https://events.combatstress.org.uk/fundraisers/alanparkinson/dday44challenge

To sign up for next year’s D-Day 44 Challenge, visit https://events.combatstress.org.uk/event/dday44challenge-2025/home

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