A firefighter running the Edinburgh Marathon after a cycling accident says he’ll ‘dig deep’ to complete the race to raise funds for the charity that helped him recover.
Piotr Gudan, who lives in Perthshire, had been with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as an on call firefighter for a mere six months when he was told his arm may need to be amputated following a cycling accident.
The dad-of-one, originally from Poland, moved to Blairgowrie with his now wife in 2014. The same year, Piotr joined the SFRS on call ranks and began to respond to emergencies via a pager system.
However, Piotr's new life was cruelly put on hold when he received the devastating news that his arm may be lost.
Piotr reflected: "After coming to Blairgowrie, I opened my own outdoor adventure business and also joined the SFRS as an on call firefighter.
"But within six months I had the accident and was told my left arm may have to be amputated, or that I could lose all feeling in it. It was soul-destroying.
"I had not long moved here and didn't really know anyone, but the support I got from local senior officers and my colleagues reaffirmed that the SFRS was a good place to be."
Piotr was aided back to health through immeasurable support from The Fire Fighters Charity. A fortnight's rehabilitation at the charity's Jubilee House facility, in Penrith, Cumbria, saw him make a remarkable recovery and return to operational duty within the same year.
He is now running the Edinburgh Marathon in aid of the charity - despite only taking up running two years ago.
Piotr, who is dad to four-year-old Dominic, said: "The Fire Fighters Charity gave me the chance to return to work in the same year as my accident, so being able to support them definitely gives you extra motivation to dig deep and keep going.
"I used to hate running, but eventually did a half marathon with nine members of the Blairgowrie crew 18 months ago in aid of charity. It was very difficult - I could hardly walk after I crossed the finish line.
"Now I've signed up for the full marathon and people think I am crazy."
Piotr balances his marathon training with parenthood, his on call role, and working in his day job.
Making time to train is difficult, but serving his community as an on call firefighter is something Piotr has grown to love.
"It's one of the best jobs in the world," he said. "It can be very hard to find the time to dedicate yourself to the on call role but it is very rewarding and definitely worth it.
"As an on call firefighter, you are living and breathing your community. It gives a great sense of self-fulfilment and connects you with local people. I love it."
The SFRS is currently looking to recruit on call firefighters in areas across Scotland. Visit our website for more information.
To donate to Piotr's fundraising efforts, click here.