A BEGINNER runner will celebrate his firm's 180th birthday - by running 180km for Help for Heroes.

Paul Jones is manager at one of Kent Blaxill's branches.

The decorative and buildings supplies merchant has a base in Layer Road, Colchester.

Paul, 36, said: “All my colleagues are really supportive and I kicked off by running a couple of well-attended events.

"My first race was a hot and hilly Colchester Half Marathon in March and the Colchester Stampede 10k in May.

"I was thrilled to meet the Mayor of Colchester who noticed my Kent Blaxill T-shirt, which says ‘Paul runs 180 km for Help for Heroes’.

“So far, I’ve completed the Alton Water 10k and Nayland 5k. In June, I moved up a gear to complete my first full marathon, the Orwell Challenge, which was really tough on very hot Father’s Day and a serious trail event (running cross-country, through mud, seaweed, fields and hedges.)

“If I’m truthful it was a baptism of fire.

"I’ve now completed 83.2 kms (51.7 miles) and my next event is the Alien vs Trail Runners half marathon on August 11 through Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk.

“I’ll follow that with the Great East Run in Ipswich September 16 so it feels like I’m just starting to break the back of the 180 km challenge now.”

Paul, who is married to Hannah, is based at Kent Blaxhill’s Melton branch in Suffolk and joined the firm last year.

Simon Blaxill, managing director at Kent Blaxill, said: “We are proud of Paul for taking up such a challenge on behalf of Kent Blaxill.

“180km across our 180th year will be a considerable achievement and of course, we’re delighted to sponsor him.

“Help for Heroes is a charity close to our hearts as Colchester is a barracks town and our company began in Colchester High Street in 1838.

"We always want to support our local community and Help for Heroes is our annual charity for 2018. We are equally thrilled to be marking Kent Blaxill’s 180th anniversary in 2018 and wish Paul every success - he is certainly making myself and all his Kent Blaxill colleagues very proud.”

To support Paul go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/KBrunning180