Yorkshire Doctor Runs 22 Miles In Face Mask To Prove They Don’t Lower Oxygen Levels

by : Charlie Cocksedge on :
Doctor Runs 22 Miles In Face Mask To Prove They Don’t Lower Oxygen Levels@LawtonTri/Twitter

A doctor in Yorkshire ran 22 miles to work and back while wearing a face mask, to debunk some myths about masks and raise money for charity in the process.

Tom Lawton, a doctor who has worked at the Bradford Royal Infirmary throughout the coronavirus pandemic, says he’s seen ‘the worst of what coronavirus can do’ to people, including young people in their 20s and 30s.


In order to help stop the spread of misinformation surrounding face masks – particularly the falsehood that they limit oxygen levels – Tom decided to take matters into his own hands.

Running the 22 miles from his home to his place of work and back, all while wearing a face mask, Tom not only proved masks don’t obstruct oxygen, but has so far raised more than £1,600 for the Trussell Trust, a foodbank charity working to stop UK hunger and poverty.


I’ve done this because, working on ICU and in the hospital, I’ve seen some of the worst of what this virus can do – even to people in their 20s and 30s. I don’t think there’s a single magic bullet that will fix this but a whole series of things we can do which play a small part each.

One of those, and one of the easiest, is probably wearing masks. So it upsets me to see misinformation about oxygen levels etc that might scare people away from them.

Tom kept his mask on for the entire run, almost the distance of a whole marathon, and didn’t even take it off for food or water. Using a SATS meter, according to the doctor, ‘oxygen levels were stubbornly 98%’ every time he checked them, and in total he breathed enough oxygen ‘for about 10 calm people’.

Tom said he’d not run in a mask before, but was confident in ‘medical and physiology training’, so knew what he was doing.


Speaking about the money he’s raised for charity, Tom added:

The choice of the Trussell Trust for fundraising was because they run the main food banks I’m aware of in Bradford, and many nationally.

They were already needed too much prior to 2020, and the pandemic has made things worse for so many people – I’ve seen reports on how many children don’t have enough to eat right now so I feel it’s something really important to try to help.

Not only did Tom run to work and back, but in between he worked his full shift at the hospital, treating patients while also wearing a mask.


Taking to Twitter after the run, Tom hoped his efforts had proven masks are safe and very important right now, saying: ‘Please feel free to cite this when anyone suggests they’re bad for you, and stay safe – and COVID-free.’

As Tom put it: ‘If I can run 16-21 miles masked, you can probably make it round the shops.’

You can donate to Tom’s fundraiser here.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Life, doctor, Face Masks, Now, oxygen, Running, Yorkshire


The Yorkshire Post
  1. The Yorkshire Post

    Yorkshire ICU doctor runs 22 miles to hospital wearing mask to prove 'misinformation'