London man recovers from random attack and takes on the London Classics
29 Aug 2019, 3:30 p.m.
Father of three, Daniel Lawrence, is swimming two miles at Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine in Hyde Park on 21 September to complete his London Classics challenge, just two years after a vicious attack that left him with life changing injuries.
The 41-year-old will have run the Virgin Money London Marathon on 28 April, pedalled the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on 4 August and swum the two-mile distance at Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine to complete the iconic London Classics, the ultimate mass participation challenge.
Daniel was walking down his local high street in south west London when he was randomly and viciously assaulted by a group of young men.
He said: “I was left battered with the right side of my face smashed in and my right leg snapped in half. I am now permanently blind in my right eye and have a metal rod in one leg.”
Recovery for Daniel was slow to start with.
“This happened at the end of May 2017 and I had to wait several months before I could get any kind of physio treatment through the NHS. In the July I joined my local gym and started doing exercises to get myself back to full fitness.
“I started off with some swimming and light work in the gym and slowly rebuilt my strength. It took some time for my leg to get back to a point where I could run on it again, but I eventually got there.”
Back on two feet, Daniel decided to raise the bar to prove that this life-changing attack would not stop him.
“Last year I entered the London Marathon," he said. "I never thought I would ever be able to do that, but I really wanted to step up to the challenge and seize the opportunity to fundraise for the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, a charity that has cared for my close friend’s son.”
Completing the Virgin Money London Marathon gave Daniel a strong sense of achievement. Therefore when he learnt that the charity offered places to ride the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, he signed up for that too.
“My original plan was to take on Swim Serpentine next year but then I thought it would feel even more rewarding to complete all three challenges in the same year.
“When I signed up for Swim Serpentine I had not done any real swimming for two years, since my initial rehabilitation when my leg was too weak to walk or run.
“I’ve since got myself a wetsuit and have tried open water swimming for the first time.”
The attack itself was a real turning point for Daniel who says that, as a result of his determination to recover and eventually train for the London Classics challenges, he is leading a much healthier lifestyle.
He said: “Now I do more exercise, it’s just part of my life.
“Since completing the Virgin Money London Marathon I still go running three times a week. I recently did an eight mile run on the first day of my summer holiday.
“While training for Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 I sold my family’s second car and now I cycle to work each day. It’s not far but I benefit from the daily ride and it’s cheaper.
“I hope to pass my healthier lifestyle habits onto my family as well.”