All kitted out - the firefighters who ran a marathon in full gear

The emotional moment firefighter Andy Ball is greeted by his children at the finish line.

Firefighters are known for being tough - but this was a challenge to test the very limits of physical strength.

Two firefighters ran the Manchester marathon - all 26.2 miles of it - in full fire kit to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Andy Ball and Ryan Jones, both colleagues at Hindley Fire Station, were raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK - as their families have both been affected by the conditions.

Gruelling...Andy Ryan, one of the firefighters who ran the Manchester Marathon in full fire kit.

Ryan completed the marathon in six hours and six minutes, while Andy made it to the finish line at approximately seven hours and 40 minutes.

The kit they wore included heavy breathing apparatus, two jackets and a helmet.

Crew Manager Andy Ball, 36, said: “It was a grind, it was very difficult. My game plan was to get to the finish line. The weight of the cylinder and the heat made it very hot.

“There was a brilliant atmosphere, I met some fantastic people. The community was just really great. I didn’t come last but I was not far off!”

Firefighter Ryan Jones completes the Manchester Marathon.

Firefighter Ryan Jones, 33, said: “It was tough. The support we got was amazing from the public, runners and everybody there, it was a really good atmosphere.

“Both myself and Andy have personally been affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s and we wanted to do something to raise as much as possible to support research into the disease.”

Since completing the marathon, Andy and Ryan have raised more than £18,000 between them and continue to encourage people to donate what they can.

Ryan with partner Demi after the race Credit: Greater Mancheser Fire & Rescue Service

GMFRS’ Chief Fire Officer Dave Russel said: “Well done to Andy and Ryan, what they have achieved is really impressive and goes to show how Greater Manchester’s firefighters go above and beyond to support charitable causes.

"The amount they have raised will help support both of these very important charities.”

You can find more information about the firefighters' fundraiser here.