Every person who gathers at the start area of the Bupa Great Winter Run has their own unique story of what led them there, for 32-year-old James Jukes from Newcastle it was a car crash that almost lost him his leg.
“I was getting into the passenger side of a car when a drunk driver lost control of his car and crashed into me,” James explains. “As I only had my right foot in the vehicle at the time, my left leg was crushed between the two cars at high speed. “
James was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered the bones in his lower leg had literally been smashed to pieces resulting in an open fracture and a lot of soft tissue loss.
“It was fifty-fifty as to whether it would be a below the knee amputation,” says James, “but fortunately I had two brilliant surgeons who managed to save my leg.”
After months of hospital treatment including a series of complicated operations involving micro-surgery, muscle transplantation and bone and skin grafts, James finally started to walk again.
“I started walking on the leg before I was really supposed to,” says James, “but luckily for me it seemed to force the bones to fuse together and six months after the accident I’d regained full use of the leg.”
James made fast progress and a few weeks later decided to try a run.
“It felt strange because there is partial loss of feeling from nerve damage, the sensation is similar to when your leg or arm has ‘gone to sleep’, “ says James. “ There was also quite a bit of pain at the site of the metal bolts in my knee and ankle.”
Despite the pain, James carried on, gradually building to up to taking five mile runs three times a week. Then came the offer a challenge…
“One of the businesses I own, CheaperWaste, was approached by Grace House North East Children’s Hospice Appeal to raise money by doing the Great North Run,” says James. “When I started training more seriously I realised I was naturally quite fast.”
I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere at the start of the race, that build up of adrenaline prior to the starting gun - and then a pint in an Edinburgh pub afterwards!
- James Jukes
Discovering he had a talent for fast running spurred James on all the more, “I caught the bug and really got into it,” he says. “I finished the Great North Run in 1hr 27m, which I was fairly happy with.”
Since then James has got even faster and is hoping for a speedy finish in the Bupa Great Winter Run.
“Anything from 15 minutes to 20 minutes will do me nicely,” he says. “It’s a very different course and challenge to the Great North Run, so this training plan is tailored accordingly.”
James is currently clocking around 20 miles per week including interval and hill training, as well as strength training in the gym.
“I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere at the start of the race, that build up of adrenaline prior to the starting gun - and then a pint in an Edinburgh pub afterwards!” says James.
James is taking part the Bupa Great Winter Run to support Grace House North East Children’s Hospice. James says, “I can’t think of many things more important than the welfare of children. Many people will be surprised to know that children’s hospices receive no guaranteed government funding. So I hope people will give generously and help me reach my £1,000 target.”
To sponsor James visit: justgiving.com/tuptuppalace