456 13.12.2015 Mark Basson with his wife running the Illovo Sugar Christmas Challenge in firefighting gear to raise awareness around EMS workers and what they do. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Durban - While most people might have spent Sunday morning sleeping in, volunteer medic Mark Basson, was up with the lark to run the Illovo Sugar 15km Christmas Challenge in 30kg of firefighting gear.

A health and safety officer by trade, 35-year-old Basson’s passion lies in emergency medical services (EMS).

He has spent 10 years volunteering in the field, first as a firefighter and later with medics.

The New Germany husband and father of two is a unit commander and training officer with Rescuetech.

Running several kilometres in heavy firefighting gear may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but Basson took up the challenge to raise awareness around EMS workers and the work they do over the festive season.

“Most people take a break at this time of the year, but the EMS guys have to work straight through,” he said.

The long hours and often traumatic scenes that workers have to attend to take their toll on EMS staff, Basson said.

“They have families and kids too, and it's hard on them,” he said.

Basson enjoyed meeting members of the public and discussing EMS work with them.

Of the run, Basson said: “It wasn’t too bad. There were some nasty hills but the cooler weather helped.”

He completed the run through Westville in two hours and 27 minutes.

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