Daniel’s grandad, Jack Pearce, was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in June 2017. Jack was told that it was a direct result of working on the construction of the Tyne Tunnel during the 1960’s, back in the days when the necessary safety equipment was not provided. Jack had also been a heavy smoker in his younger days.
Despite his diagnosis he continued to enjoy life as much as he could (as you can see in the picture of him and Daniel together, which is from Christmas 2019).
Unfortunately, in April 2020 he contracted COVID-19. The family all feared the worst as they knew it was unlikely his lungs would be strong enough to fight off the virus. However, he was as stubborn as ever and put up a good fight and it was almost a week later when he did pass. Luckily, he was not alone as the hospital permitted Daniel’s mum and aunty to be by his side.
In the weeks after his grandad’s death, Daniel found himself going out for lots of walks to try and clear his head. These walks evolved into him trying the Couch to 5k programme. Daniel found that it gave him something to focus on and once he had completed it, he looked for a new challenge to keep his running going.
Daniel stumbled across the Great North Run Solo event. The concept was to complete a minimum of 40 runs between 27th June and the 13th September (the date of the Great North Run 2020). There were targets in terms of distance:
100 miles for bronze
200 miles for silver
300 miles for gold
He decided to take part to try and raise some money for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust in his grandad’s memory. Daniel set up a Just Giving page with a target of raising £500 and then set himself a running target of the silver distance.
Daniel says “The more I ran the longer the distances became. I was able to push myself and the end result was me actually achieving the gold target of 300 miles.”
His final run of the challenge was combined with the Virtual Great North Run which had replaced the cancelled real race. Daniel completed a half marathon around his, and his Grandad’s, hometown of South Shields in a time of 1:52:31. His final fundraising total exceeded its target, ending up at a wonderful £615.
Daniel’s running journey doesn’t stop here either because he has signed up to run the Great North Run for us again this year too!
We would like to say a huge thank you to Daniel, and to everyone who has supported him.