A TAXI driver is training to run a 10k with the full weight of a transport oxygen cylinder on his back.

James Davies, aged 29, will be running the Manchester 10k to raise money for people suffering with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis - a terminal respiratory disease.

The condition, typified by scarring throughout the lungs, is caused by many factors - it can be genetic or as a result of being exposed to thick, organic dusts - meaning coal miners are more susceptible.

James, of Hollins Road, Hindley, said: “I decided to do this after my granddad - and hero - Derek Davies, passed away on the March 12. He was a coal miner and a sufferer of pulmonary fibrosis.”

“There is no cure only oxygen therapy with the oxygen cylinder. At the end, the final stage is being hooked up to one of these cylinders 24 hours a day.”

Not content with running with the weight and discomfort of the oxygen cyclinder, James will also add weight to his backpack and is considering running with two cyclinders depending on how his training goes.

“There is a real stigma around respiratory disease as most people assume it’s because they smoked but my grandad never did.

“I’m trying to make it as difficult as possible for myself to try and show people how difficult it is for ill people who have to carry these around with them everyday. Not being able to be free of a cylinder, they become the heavy burden when trying to carry on with daily life.”

Until the run on May 18, every tip James receives while working will go into the British Lung Foundation collection box in his taxi.

On his last shift on May 16, every fare he clocks up along with any tips will be added to the box with the full support of the taxi company ‘Super Cabs’ of Atherton.

He can also be sponsored by visiting www.justgiving.com/4derek/.