Dave’s year of going extra mile

Charity fundraiser Dave KnowlesCharity fundraiser Dave Knowles
Charity fundraiser Dave Knowles
Dave Knowles spent 2013 taking on 13 challenges to raise money for a good cause. Catherine Scott finds out why.

Fitness fanatic Dave Knowles is nearing the end of his bid to complete 13 challenges to raise £13,000 in 2013.

Dave , from Halifax, is raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).after his mother-in-law died from the condition.

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His 13th challenge will be one of his toughest yet – the Trafalgar Run: 13 marathons in 13 days running from Newcastle to Nelson’s Column.

Dave, 29 . recently married Danielle Embleton whose mum, Linda, died of MND in 2008. As a tribute to her memory the couple got married on April 5 this year which would have been Linda’s birthday.

“I have run a marathon before and used to do a couple of events every year for different charities,” explains Dave who now lives in Whitley Bay. “But when I met Danielle her mum had recently died of MND and we also have a friend of a friend who has been diagnosed with it and so I came up with the idea of doing 13 challenges in 2013.

To add to the challenge, Dave himself has coeliac disease and cannot eat food that has any wheat, gluten, dairy or eggs in it, but he is confident he can maintain his gluten free diet throughout the challenges.

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“I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2002 just before I was due to join the Army and I had to have a career change. I will probably be burning more than 4,500 calories a day during the run and the difficulty is getting enough food on board. I have to be very careful what I eat, and I won’t be eating out in restaurants during that time.”

Dave has been training about four times a week and has already raised more than £9,000 towards his target.

His final challenge was inspired by Eddie Izzard who in 2009 ran 43 marathons in 53 days.

Dave is actively looking for local celebrities to join him on various legs of his 13 marathon final challenge.

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The 13 marathon finale starts on Sunday, December 1, at Admiral Collingwood’s monument in Tynemouth.

Dave will run through Newcastle, Durham, Leeds, Nottingham, Leicester and St Albans, before finally completing his 13 marathon journey at Nelson’s Column in London, on Friday December 13. “I am meeting some of the Leicester Tigers Rugby Team in Leicester and cricketer Chris Broad at Trent Bridge so hopefully we will get some more celebrity support.”

Although the 13 marathons will be tough, the hardest event so far physically was the Yorkshire Three Peaks Race.

“It’s definitely not a fun run. It is a fell race and you have to hit certain check points at certain times or your are eliminated. I just made it to one of the check points in time.”

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Dave’s wife, Danielle says:“I am so proud of Dave, unfortunately he never met my mum but I know she would have been so touched by everything he is doing, as I am. It will be a tough challenge, and I couldn’t believe it when he said what he was going to do, but I know he can do it.”

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting. MND can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. There is currently no cure for MND.

The MNDA is the only UK organisation to support people with MND and those who care for them.

Their mission is to fund and promote research to bring about an end to MND. Until then they will do all they can to enable everyone with MND to receive the best care, achieve the highest quality of life possible, and die with dignity. They also do all that they can to support the families and carers of people with MND. Their vision is of a world free of MND. www.mndassociation.org

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Dave works as a National Account Manager for Magners cider . You can track Dave’s progress and his various challenge reviews at www.doolist.com/people/dave/

This is a free “bucket-list” site which Dave set up so like-minded people can list their charity challenges and life goals.

To support Dave and the MNDA, his fund-raising link is: www.justgiving.com/Doolist 2013challenge4MNDA

13 challenges in 2013 for MND

Tough Guy (eight mile assault course)

The Dent Run (14 mile run)

The Yorkshire three peaks race (25 mile fell run)

Coast to Coast (140 mile cycle)

Edinburgh Marathon

Great Manchester Swim

London Triathlon

The Great North Bike Ride

Ripon Ironman 70.3

Great North Run (half marathon)

Kielder marathon


The Trafalgar Run: 13 marathons in 13 days from Newcastle to Nelson’s Column.