RUNNERS who would like to kick-start 2019 by helping to keep Wiltshire Air Ambulance flying and saving lives are being asked to take part in the Bath Half Marathon.

General places have sold out for the event on Sunday, March 17, but Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA) has some available for people who would like to run and raise funds for the charity.

Among the runners already signed up for Team WAA are pilot Rob Backus and paramedic Sophie Holt.

This will be Rob’s first Bath Half Marathon, while Sophie will be taking on the 13.1-mile course for a second time, having completed it in 2012.

Sophie, 31, said: “The Bath Half Marathon was my first half marathon and I really enjoyed it. The route was full of spectators who provided much needed encouragement along the way.

“I am running it this year for Wiltshire Air Ambulance because I want to give something back to the charity I work for. We deliver critical care to people in Wiltshire and surrounding counties and without fundraisers and events like this, we wouldn’t be able to.”

Sophie, who is also a keen cyclist and swimmer and has competed in Ironman events, said: “I am a true believer in physical wellbeing helping mental wellbeing and the training provides me with the fitness to meet the physical demands of my job and plays a huge part in my ability to process what I see on a daily basis.”

Rob’s running experience includes numerous 10k races, as well as taking part in the London Marathon in 2013.

Rob, 45, said: “I’m looking forward to meeting other Wiltshire Air Ambulance runners at the Bath Half. Working for the charity I am only too aware of how important our service is and that we rely on donations to keep us flying and saving lives.”

Kenresa Stratford, events co-ordinator at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, commented: “We’re delighted that Rob and Sophie are among Team WAA at the Bath Half. If you would like to join them we still have a limited number of places available. The Bath Half is one of the most popular half marathons in the South West and if you are inspired to take part please get in touch with us

“We can provide fundraising tips and sponsorship forms. The funds raised by our runners will help to keep our essential lifesaving service operational.”

For more information go to or email

Caption: Preparing to run the Bath Half Marathon for Wiltshire Air Ambulance are paramedic Sophie Holt and pilot Rob Backus.

For more press information/to arrange interview opportunities please contact Jill Crooks, Media & Communications Coordinator, on 01225 300536/07557 952755 email

Notes to editors:

• Wiltshire Air Ambulance is available up to 19 hours a day, 365 days a year.

• Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a charity and relies almost entirely on public donations to keep flying. It costs £3.25 million a year to keep the air ambulance flying, that’s £8,904 per day.

• Wiltshire Air Ambulance has been saving lives for 28 years. The charity shared a helicopter with Wiltshire Police for 24 years until it became a stand-alone air ambulance and began operating its own helicopter, a Bell 429, on 9 January 2015.

• Wiltshire Air Ambulance is called to, on average, three incidents a day. In 2017 one in five incidents were road traffic collisions and one in ten incidents involved children. Its Paramedics are employed by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and seconded to Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Wiltshire Air Ambulance pays almost 50% of the Paramedic costs.

• For more information about Wiltshire Air Ambulance go to