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Wigan runner defies odds to finish 100-mile race

Dan Miller celebrates with wife Sara
Dan Miller celebrates with wife Sara

A PE teacher told he would never run again just six years ago has completed a gruelling 100-mile race.

Dan Miller, from Billinge, spent three weeks in hospital after an injury to his leg led to his developing septicaemia.

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Doctors said he would not be able to run again - but he was determined not to give up the sport he loved.

The plucky 27-year-old defied the odds by not just returning to running, but finishing the tough Lakeland 100.

Dan first realised there was a problem after giving blood six years ago.

He said: “I gave blood, got off the table and my knee was swollen. I didn’t know why.

“The doctor wrongly diagnosed and said I had torn my cartilage. I got iller and iller over a few weeks and ended up in hospital.”

He was diagnosed with septicaemia, a serious blood infection which can quickly become life-threatening.

It is believed to have been caused by a slight tear in one of his muscles which had bled.

It was then he was told he would not be able to run again.

But Dan said: “I just thought, ‘yes I will’.”

While he has not been able to return to running on the roads, Dan can cover miles and miles on softer terrain.

A successful return to racing saw him win a trail marathon and he was asked to run for the Appley Bridge-based Endurance Store.

He said: “My friend entered me in a race and I ended up winning it. I was relaxed and it made it loads easier to run.”

Dan, who is married to Sara and teaches PE in West Lancashire primary schools, has since completed the Lakeland 50 for the past three years.

But this year he decided it was time to try the Lakeland 100, a trail race through the Lake District taking in 6,300m of ascent through the fells.

He said: “I had done the Lakeland 50 three times before and thought I should step it up. My training wasn’t too bad and I did some big runs.”

It stood him in good stead, as he was able to complete the gruelling race in 27 hours 48 minutes.

He experienced all four seasons during the race, which started at 6pm on a Friday in glorious sunshine and continued in thunder storms and hailstones the following day, and ran alongside members of the “Lakeland family” as he covered the challenging 100 miles.

Dan said: “I was happy to finish. It was a shock. Your body has been going one step in front of the other for 27-and-a-bit hours and you stop and your body doesn’t know what do to.”

Dan’s training included running overnight to help people tackling the Bob Graham Round, a famous 66-mile route taking in 42 of the Lake District’s highest peaks, which runners must complete within 24 hours.

He is now putting up his feet and while he does not yet know what his next challenge will be, he is already considering a 100-mile race along the Jurassic Coast in Devon or tackling the Bob Graham Round himself.