PAUL Cornwall set a target to run the equivalent of Newcastle to Aberdeen without stopping to raise funds and awareness for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
The ultrarunner - an administration coordinator and information technology manager at All Saints College, Maitland - planned to run 139 kilometres in laps around the school's St Mary's campus from Friday afternoon, ahead of the service's AW139 Ultra for Everyone challenge kicking off on Monday.
However crippling pain forced him to stop around 3am on Saturday, when two blisters popped in his right foot. His feet had softened and swelled when rain hit.
"I've never dealt with it as an ultrarunner, I thought it was going to be a walk in the park," he said.
"I was not contemplating I would not finish. But the event was not about me, it was about getting people involved.
"There were so many people still there who wanted to help that I said 'If we finish this together maybe that will be the best thing'."
Mr Cornwall, 36, said he hardly ran a lap on his own during the more than 24 hour event.
One of his running partners Cath Sylvester joined him from around 6pm on Friday to when he stopped, before another, Sarah Elliott, ran 50 kilometres while he slept.
He was "amazed" at the number of supporters who pitched in to help.
He was joined by eight to run the last five kilometres, with blood soaking through his shoes.
"I was quite humbled," he said. "It's the first time I finished something and was crying - so many people around me had gotten me to that point.
"I don't take failures as the end of the world. I've learned they're a great opportunity to look at the next great thing you're leading towards.
"I'm taking it with a grain of salt as I head to the next challenge that I need to step it up a gear."
The challenge asks participants to swim, cycle, run, walk, row or complete one of three triathlon options through June to raise funds for the service's four AW139 helicopters, which cost $4000 an hour to operate.
"I've never been impacted by the Westpac helicopter but I have friends and family who have," he said.
"I have a great friend of mine... his little boy was picked up and it was a very tragic story. I've always been in the backdrop of charity fundraising for the Westpac helicopter and this was my chance to step up and do something more."
Mr Cornwall aimed to raise $700 but has collected more than $2470.
Swimmers can complete 1.39km a week or 13.9km over the month.
Cyclists can complete 13.9km or 139km per week.
Runners and rowers can complete 13.9km per week or 139km in the month.
Mr Cornwall plans to complete one of the triathlons, before Ironman events in September.