A 13-year-old boy who struggled for months with suspected long Covid has fought back to fitness – by completing a 60 mile charity run.
Jack Balchin was rushed to hospital last April after he developed chest pains and was struggling to breathe.
Doctors are convinced he had coronavirus although he wasn’t tested at the time as he didn’t stay in overnight.
But after being discharged Jack, from Willand, Devon, lost all his fitness and continued to struggle with the after effects of the virus.
He suffered enduring chest pains, fatigue, and a shortness of breath – but worked on pushing himself every day and his fitness slowly began to return.
And the determined teen has now completed a 63 mile run – finished in one month – to raise £1,582 for Children’s Hospice South West.
Jack said: “It feels incredible, it keeps going up. We’ve had emails from all over the world.
“I’m absolutely thrilled, the reason I did it was because I realised the charity wouldn’t be able to fundraise because of the lockdown.
“I wanted to do something positive with my time.”
Jack competed his run around his local area – starting with just a mile a day, then building up to a big eight mile final run.
He was often accompanied by his mum, Emma, who was happy to see her son healthy again after his battle with the pandemic.
She said: “Because of when it was he wasn’t given a covid test, they were only doing tests for overnight hospital stays.
“When he got into hospital they said they were certain he had coronavirus. He was very sick.
“That was April and he’s had a long coronavirus recovery. He’s had fatigue, chest pains, difficult breathing, and an inability to exercise.
“He’s not a sporty boy, but he’s active – he’s in the police cadets, on a frisbee team, and plays football every lunch time.
“He’s found it very difficult and it was a challenge when he went back to school full time in September.”
Emma said that Jack wasn’t a naturally sporty person, but that he was always an active boy.
She continued: “I’d say he’s about 90-95 per cent better now.
“With the police cadets, they were planning on raising money for Children’s Hospice South West, but that fell through because of the restrictions.
“So Jack decided to run 63 miles in a month to raise money for them, that’s the distance from Exeter to the hospice – Jack goes to school in Exeter, so it made sense to him.
“He finished it on Sunday and he’s on top of the world.
“He can’t believe he’s done it and can’t believe how supportive everyone has been, he’s raised over £1,500.
“He started as a non runner and just did one mile, but soon he was up to 3.5 miles a day then did eight miles on his last day. He ran every day for about three weeks.”