John Turner takes more than just himself up the stairs, another GYSC Champion!

As part of our GYSC Champions, we’re on the lookout for extraordinary people who are really pushing the boundaries when it comes to hitting the BWP stairwell. You’ve already heard about Dan McIntyre, a two-time cancer survivor who now uses a wheelchair to get around, now comes John Turner!

John and his wife Vicki had been trying for a baby for the past two years, and unfortunately weren’t successful on a number of occasions. Following various visits to their local hospital, they were told that treatment was available to them, but the catch was that before they could take advantage of it they both had to lose weight. As a personal trainer myself I know from professional experience that this is no easy process.

Vicki got the ball rolling by joining the gym, taking steps to improve her nutrition, and regularly took part in group exercise classes. John however was moving in the opposite direction, loving his take away food and too many beers. He needed to get some focus and fast!

Last January, Run for All events held a competition on their facebook page where there was a chance to win free entry into four of their events, as well as free personal training sessions with a local personal trainer. As well as this, the winners progress would be followed by the Yorkshire Post through regular articles, all John had to do was tell them why he wanted to lose weight.

He won the competition, and started to take advantage of the free sessions. The initial health assessment was a massive eye opener for John, having raised concerns about blood pressure and overall health. The excessive take away foods and beers had clearly left a heavy toll on his body, and were quickly advised to ditch these out of his nutrition. To this day, John hasn’t had a single take away, and his alcohol intake has been infrequent, he was clearly inspired!

His first ever event was the Sport Relief Mile in March this year. The sense of achievement that he felt following the event was massive for him, and the satisfaction was made that bit sweeter considering as little as a month earlier he wasn’t able to run at all.

John didn’t just want to complete the event, he wanted to show the world what he’d lost from the competition, and had a ridiculous idea to show it. He decided that to truly push himself, he’d carry all the weight that he’d lost in the process on the events, crazy I know!

The events that John has completed so far are:

  • Sport Relief mile
  • Peak District 5-mile walk (with a 10kg weight vest and two medicine balls in his rucksack!)
  • Carnegie 5k cross country race
  • Leeds 10k
  • York 10k (sub 1 hour 10k, goal completed!)
  • Yorkshire Dales 14 mile walk
  • Lake District 18 mile walk

John’s life has had a complete turn around; to have come so far in such a small amount of time is a true testament to the kind of character he is. He has a new lease of life, feeling the benefits of exercise and has been distilled with more energy than he has ever had before; he’s even converted the spare room of his house into a gym!

The running season is coming to an end pretty soon, and he plans to finish off the season with the Harewood 5 mile cross country race and the Leeds Abbey Dash in November. Once this is done, he’s got one week to transition his legs for the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb!

His total weight loss since the beginning of this epic journey is a whopping 5 stone 3lb, going from 21 stone 4lb to 16 stone 1lb. John has signed up for the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb already, and plans to run it carrying a 32kg weight vest, the exact weight that he’s lost since February. I for one can’t wait to see this man hit the stairs; it’s going to be a sight to see I’m sure, what an animal!

You can sponsor John here, get behind this athlete and watch his make even more progress.


John in action!

Dan McIntyre… the GYSC has its first champion!

Dan McIntyre is 35 years old, and has already seen more hardship than you would ever wish upon anybody. He’s a wheelchair user who finds it a challenge to walk short distances, has had kidney failure, and is a two-time cancer survivor.

Many people would have given up many years ago, but not Dan, with help from his fiancé and her three kids, this man stepped up against adversity, grabbed the bull by the horns, and knuckled down to fight it!

Over the past few years Dan has unfortunately been out of work, but has filled his time writing, volunteering for various charities (most notably Bradford Cancer Support and Airedale), and taking part in various challenges for charities to raise much needed funds.

“I’d rather try and fail than not bother trying at all and just accept what I’m told.”

Last year he did the Alps Challenge for Disabled Motoring UK, where he took a 1932 mobility trike the 1800 mile distance across the Swiss Alps, recreating the epic journey undertook by the trikes former owner back in 1947. He participated in the Leeds 5k as part of the Jane Tomlinson Run for All in aid of the Yorkshire Cancer Centre, taking him 80 minutes to complete. And this very same year, Dan zip wired from the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, on the very same line that Bear Grylls used the previous day with the Olympic Torch. Anybody who can follow Bear Grylls has got to be cool, right?!

That sounds like one epic year! Here’s what Dan said about the GYSC…

“I reckon this will likely be the most demanding challenge I’ve undertaken in terms of physical effort.  As mentioned I’m a wheelchair user who can manage short distances (think back of car to front of car) with a pair of sticks.  I plan to try and do the stair climb on foot with my sticks but may end up on hands and knees.  Not very dignified but it gets the job done!”

We asked him, why would you do a challenge like this?

“Well my last round of treatment was carried out at the Bexley Wing of St James’, aka the Yorkshire Cancer Centre and the staff and facilities were first class, so it’s something I can do as a thank you really, trying to give something back”.

What is it that drives you to participate in these events?

“On a more personal level it is also a way of pushing myself, as that’s the only way for me to find out what’s possible and what I’m capable of. I’d rather try and fail than not bother trying at all and just accept what I’m told.  I have never been a sporty person but the Olympics and Paralympics have left me inspired, a few people have suggested I try out wheelchair basketball and maybe I will, I have tried out handcycling and enjoyed that, though I’m no Karen Darke!”

That is one truly inspirational man, and one that we welcome with open arms to compete in the GYSC. This is an event for all, and Dan is undoubtedly one of those who are the stars of the show.

We look forward to starting you off at the bottom of the Bridgewater Place steps Dan, and will have everything possible in place to ensure you get all the way to the top!


You can sponsor Dan by donating to his JustGiving page, why not get behind him and his challenge to show some support.

Here’s Dan zip wiring down the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle, one mad mofo!