A YOUNG teacher has told how he was left struggling to breathe after contracting Covid pneumonia.

Stephen McGachy, from Ardgowan Primary School, contracted the deadly virus over the Christmas period and was ill for several weeks into the new year.

But now, just months after being so ill that he couldn't walk around the block, he is taking on a gruelling marathon challenge for charity.

The 29-year-old plans to run 26.2 miles to raise vital funds for Ardgowan Hospice.

The Portonian says he is willing to go the extra mile in aid of the compassionate place of care.

Glasgow Times:

Stephen, who lives with parents Fra and Teresa, told our sister title The Greenock Telegraph: "I've completed a few half marathons and other charity challenges over the years and I was set on running a full marathon this year.

"When I ended up so ill with Covid-19 pneumonia I thought that my chances of being able to do that would be out the window for a good while.

"I was really unwell.

"I had to go to the hospital as I couldn't breathe at all."

Stephen's parents were also affected as the second wave of the virus swept through the local community.

He told the Tele: "My mum and dad caught it too, but thankfully they were not as bad.

"It just shows you how easily it is to catch.

"I had been following all the rules, especially as I was in school, so I've no idea how we all got it."

Stephen, who qualified as a teacher last year, will be running from Parklea to Lunderston Bay and back during his mammoth effort on May 22.

He said: "I was gutted when I had to stop training for a while, but I'm back to it now and have been building myself up to the challenge.

"The hospice is such a great charity which helps so many people.

"When I was asking my friends who I should do the challenge in aid of, almost everyone suggested Ardgowan.

"It'll be tough going but worth it and I hope to raise as much as I can."

Elaine McNeill, Ardgowan Hospice fundraising officer, praised Stephen for showing such determination to the cause.

He said: "We wish Stephen the best of luck in his challenge - after what was a tough start to the year, we're delighted he's made a full recovery."

To donate to Stephen's sponsorship fund, visit bit.ly/3eiASkm