Burnside BC member raises £1250 for Diabetes UK

A Burnside Bowling Club member with diabetes has raised £1,250 for charity, by running a half-marathon around the club’s bowling green.

Stephen Leonard’s switch from the social, gentle sport of bowls to the loneliness of a long-distance runner raised more than £1250 for Diabetes UK. His run took place after a planned event in London was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Stephen, an information analyst with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, completed 127 laps (13.1 miles) around the green in less than two hours, despite having to take care to avoid injury at the tight corners.

He was diagnosed with type one diabetes when just six-years-old and a few years ago he had to take time off from work for two months because he was constantly fatigued. However, an insulin pump transformed Stephen’s life because it gives him much more control of his condition and he no longer needs to have five injections a day.

A keen cyclist, he started running two years ago to further boost his health. After taking part in parkruns, which organises community-based events at Tollcross, he became a member of Cambuslang Harriers earlier this year.

Stephen, 45, said: “I had received lots of financial pledges before the London run was cancelled and did not want let people down. Raising money towards caring for people with diabetes is also important to me.”

He added: “I have been diabetic for most of my life and could not have done the run without the advances in diabetes management as well as the great care I’ve had from the NHS.

“Thanks also to the bowling club committee for allowing me to run on the grounds, and to Cambuslang Harriers for welcoming me into the club. Most of all, thanks to everyone who sponsored my half-marathon.”

Before setting off on the run, Stephen installed a new battery in his insulin pump and made sure he had ample supplies of water and sugar top-ups during the event, to ensure he did not suffer a ‘hypo’ – when a diabetic’s blood sugar levels drop too low.

A former president of Burnside Bowling Club, he chose the venue for his run rather than running to and from Glasgow city centre because he could guarantee he would not breach social distancing rules.

The club’s committee wholeheartedly supported his efforts, as did his wife Kelly, family and friends.

Gerald Pearson, the club’s president, said: “We’ve never seen Stephen move so quickly around the green.

“Our members are delighted to have played a part in his efforts to support one of the foremost diabetes charities in the UK.”

(Article & Photo Credit: Iain Wilson)

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