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Danny's 40-hour run for Rocco raises £2,800 for Alabama rot research

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AN animal lover battled shin-deep mud, painful injuries and torrential rain on a 115-mile non-stop run in memory of his dog Rocco who died from Alabama rot.

Danny Watts organised the challenge to mark the first anniversary of his pet’s death, after he was taken ill with the condition following a Boxing Day walk in the New Forest.

To raise money to research the often fatal disease, he spent over 30 hours travelling by foot from his home in Aylesbeare, Devon, to Anderson Moores Veterinary Clinic in Winchester, via the national park.

Danny Watts and Kevin Harriman
Danny Watts and Kevin Harriman

He was joined in the challenge by his father-in-law Kevin Harriman, from Everton, who cycled part of the route towing a support buggy, and then joined Danny to run the final section.

Together the pair battled 20mph winds, torrential rain and -2 degree temperatures after setting off at 9am on 7th January.

Danny set out to raise £1,000 but has more than doubled that target, having collected nearly £2,800 by this week.

He said: “It was the worst weather we could have possibly imagined.

“At 10pm on the first night it was freezing cold and pouring with rain – I just had to change my mentality and think I am going to go this no matter how long it takes.

“My feet disintegrated a bit and I split one of my toes around the 45-mile mark after running along a flooded track in shin deep mud.

Danny and Rocco
Danny and Rocco

“It was very painful and the injuries continued as I was compensating by putting pressure on another part of my foot. At one point we were stopping every 10-15 minutes to try and redress and bandage my feet.”

He added: “This week is the first week I have begun to feel a bit more normal again but it’s still going to be a while before I’m doing any running or anything else too strenuous.”

Danny arrived at Anderson Moores at 7.45pm on 8th January after running continuously for over 34 hours and covering 115 miles.

Danny added: “We made it to the finish and that was all that really mattered. I’m glad we did it and I’m hopeful that the money raised will allow Anderson Moores to really advance their research into this terrible condition.

“What was really special was that my wife and I were able to share a moment of reflection at 1pm on the Saturday, the time Rocco passed away, on Godshill, near Ashley Walk.”

To donate to Danny’s Run for Rocco to fund Alabama rot research visit www.gofund.me/79065108

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