Dan’s takes on the BIG 12 – despite ‘worrying’ fitness levels.

Yorkshireman Dan Williams is starting the ‘biggest challenge of his life’ for local children's charities after his friends suffered a premature scare.

Yorkshireman Dan Williams is taking on the ‘biggest challenge of his life’ this year to raise money for two charities close to his heart.

Dan’s Big 12 Challenge will see him tackle 12 major runs to raise money for children’s charities Clic Sargent and Barnsley Hospital’s Tiny Hearts Appeal – despite his ‘worrying’ fitness levels.

The pinnacle of Dan's 200-mile challenge will no doubt be his homecoming race at the 2019 Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon on October 20th.

Speaking ahead of his marathon challenge, Dan said: “My current fitness levels are worrying. I let December and its array of tantalising treats get the better of my waistline and running schedule. It’s been tricky to recover these last months.

“But now I'm back pounding the pavements - proving to myself and anyone who'll lend me an ear that running these kind of distances is an achievable challenge.

“It's going to take a good amount of dedication and my will power is going to have to finally overcome my love of beer and Quavers - but it'll be worth it in the long run.”

Come the end of 2019, Dan will have competed in five marathons, four half marathons and three 10Ks, including the Asda Foundation Leeds 10K.

His challenge is no mean feat, however, the father of two is determined to support the children and young people’s cancer charity Clic Sargent and the Tiny Hearts Appeal – who aim to raise £1 million for a brand new Neonatal unit at Barnsley Hospital.

“I felt that it was important that my challenge supported both of these amazing children’s charities.

“I’m lucky that I get to spend every day with my kids. They’re absolutely my pride and joy and I can’t imagine or remember life without them. However, some people aren’t as lucky as I am.”

Dan’s friends, Craig Foulkes and Emma Pickersgill from Huddersfield, are especially keen to support the Big 12 Challenge after experiencing a scare at Barnsley Hospital. In 2015, their daughter Elizabeth was born seven weeks premature weighing 3lb 2oz - the size of a 28-week-old baby.

“This was the scariest time of our lives”, said Emma.

“Only a parent who has been in this situation will understand the heartache of leaving your baby every single night. Of staring at them through an incubator. Of heel prick, tubes, eye tests, wires, xrays, alarms, tests.

“The incredible Barnsley Hospital staff helped us through it all looking after Elizabeth – they were angels.

“Words cannot describe how happy we were to take our baby girl home and that she came through her difficult time relatively unscathed.

“They deserve a unit that helps them perform this role to the best of their ability. We need to support Dan’s runs so that the staff can provide more happy-endings like ours.”

Dan’s fundraising can be supported at www.justgiving.com/teams/dansbig12challenge.

You can learn more about Clic Sargant at https://www.clicsargent.org.uk/.

You can learn more about the Tiny Hearts Appeal at http://www.barnsleyhospitalcharity.co.uk/tiny-hearts/.

You can learn more about the Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon at https://www.runforall.com/events/marathon/yorkshire-marathon/.

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