BRAVE soldier David Triplow will be among thousands pounding the streets in the Great North Run next month.
But doctors once feared he would never walk again, after he suffered a devastating injury while playing rugby.
The 32-year-old, from Whitburn, shattered his neck playing his first-ever game of rugby for his regiment.
David, who was serving with the Royal Logistics Corp at Deep Cut Barracks in Surrey, underwent a nine-hour operation after sustaining serious damage to his spinal cord.
Surgeons had to pin his spine together and doctors warned he might never walk again.
But he fought his way back to health so he could walk his bride down the aisle and has now opened up about the miracle recovery that led him to propose to Michelle, 28. He said: “There was no movement from the waist down, but I woke up one morning several weeks after the accident and things just started to move.
“It was like when you wake up in the morning and you yawn and stretch.
“I did that and my right leg just lifted off the bed. I started pressing the buzzer and the nurses came running.”
David was transferred from hospital in London to a specialist spinal cord unit at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital.
He was also sent to the Headley Court Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre for treatment and also received rehab at the Personnel Recovery Centre in Edinburgh.
Both are funded by the Royal British Legion. Although with intense physiotherapy, he learned to walk again, he was devastated to be medically discharged from the Army in 2011, as it was his lifelong passion to be in the Forces.
Now, five years after being told he would never walk again, determined David is in training for the Great North Run next month.
Although he is still on lots of medication and constantly battling pain, he is running to raise funds for the British Legion.
David gave thanks to Michelle, a designer, brother Michael, 36, a wagon driver, and his parents Jenny, 63, who works at Gala Bingo, and Bob, 65, a retired miner, for their support.
He said: “I’m the luckiest man in the world. Without my wife, my family and friends, this would have been a completely different situation.”
To donate to David’s fund, visit www.justgiving.com/Dave-Triplow.