Peter’s running challenge in mum’s memory

Peter Clegg, who is taking part in the Great North Run to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Peter Clegg, who is taking part in the Great North Run to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Watching the 2012 Olympic Games gave Peter Clegg the motivation to take up running but it is his late mum who is the true inspiration behind a fundraising challenge.

Peter, of Camm Street, Brighouse, is in training for the 13-mile Great North Run on September 15. He is taking part in the event in memory of his mum, Julie Clegg, who died of motor neurone disease a year ago at the age of 53.

Peter Clegg and his mum Julie on his wedding day in 2010

Peter Clegg and his mum Julie on his wedding day in 2010

Though he was keen on sport at Brighouse High School, 28-year-old Peter had not done much running as an adult until watching the London Olympics galvanised him into action.

“It was fantastic to see people like Mo Farah achieving what he did. And in a way the Paralympics were even more inspiring with athletes like David Weir taking part. It just made me think that if they could show such determination, I should at least have a go.”

Peter’s mum was diagnosed with MND in January 2011. The disease affects the nervous system and it left her weak and struggling to walk.

“It is a very aggressive disease and a cruel one because the person who has it is aware of what’s happening. My mum lost feeling in her arms and legs and she had to use a wheelchair,” said Peter.

“She was a very cheerful person and was determined to enjoy herself as much as she could.

“She died in hospital before the disease affected her ability to eat or breathe.”

Ten months before Peter’s mum died, his wife Laura gave birth to twin daughters, Eleanor and Erica. “My mum was thrilled to be a grandmother and whenever we took the twins to see her, it was clear that her spirits just lifted.”

During her illness, Julie received invaluable support from the MND Association, getting help from a support worker and plenty of information about the debilitating condition.

She also took part in clinical trials in Sheffield to assist research and Peter is keen to continue her legacy by raising funds for research through the MND Association.

“I knew I wanted to do some fund-raising and initially I thought about trying to organise a gig because I used to play in bands.

“But then my dad Steven suggested I take up running again. I thought I’d give it a go and get fit at the same time.”

Peter took up running last October and participated in a 10km run in Bradford in December.

“I discovered I really enjoyed it but I think I probably overdid it in the early days and had to have a break through injury in the spring.

“So I started again in earnest in May and have been out training about four times a week with longer runs at the weekend.

“I like running round Wellholme Park or along the towpath to Elland,” said Peter who works for Liverpool Victoria in Huddersfield.

“I feel I’ve really got the running bug now. I just love getting out for a training run before the twins are up and about.

“I hope to carry on and do the Blackpool Beach 10km and Cardiff half-marathon next year - and maybe even a full marathon one day!”

To sponsor Peter go to justgiving.com/Peter-Clegg1