A BRAVE Bolton firefighter is putting himself through gruelling training ahead of running the New York Marathon in November in honour of fallen colleague Stephen Hunt.

Along with four colleagues from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Mark Haslam, aged 40, from Bromley Cross, is attempting to raise £20,000 for Operation Florian, which promotes the safety of firefighers worldwide, through the November 3 race.

Mr Haslam, Pete Griffiths, Rob McDonagh, Dean Hanley and Leon Dally will run from the Brooklyn Bridge through Manhattan to Central Park wearing vests adorned with the message “running for Steve”.

Father-of-two Mr Hunt tragic-ally died while tackling a blaze in Manch-ester’s Northern Quarter in July at the age of 38. Despite not knowing him personally, Mr Haslam, who works out of Heywood fire station, agreed to run in his honour.

He said: “It is always horrendously sad when one of your colleagues loses his life in such tragic circumstances.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious target, but fundraising is going well.

“On my donation page I’ve now raised about £2,500, which is a fantastic start and I hope the other lads are doing equally as well.”

A marathon is a big challenge for Mr Haslam, who has only limited running experience.

He said: “Cycling and indoor rowing are my sports really, but I thought I’d give this a go with it being for such a good cause.

“If you’re going to do one, you want it to be one of the iconic races and New York will certainly be that.”

Mr Haslam’s partner, Amanda Greenwood, who has helped him as a running partner, and their sons Harry, aged nine, and Isaac, aged six, will join him in New York. Harry also raised money for Operation Florian last week with a a 5,000km charity swim at the David Lloyd gym in Chorley Street.

To donate visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/GreaterManchesterFireFighters.