Keen runner Tim Baker stormed home in the 2017 Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon to finish 24th with a pb of 2:45:57.
Yet less than a year later he lay in a hospital bed having had open heart surgery.
Last year Tim, 47, had high blood pressure and went to see his doctor.
He said: “That wasn’t a symptom of heart disease but my doctor knew I was a runner and referred me to a cardiologist. Some tests were done and it turned out there was a defect that I’d had since birth.
“The dangerous aspect was that the main vessel coming out of the heart had a bulge in it and the doctors recommended that I stop running completely.
“I had an operation in which I was given a mechanical aortic valve and my aortic root was replaced. Afterwards the surgeon said I was fine to run and I was delighted.”
Tim was soon back in training and earlier this year he completed the London Marathon in aid of the British Heart Foundation. Now his sights are firmly on the Yorkshire Marathon.
Tim, who lives in Sheffield, said: “Yorkshire was the first marathon I took part in. I only started running in 2014 as the result of a New Year’s resolution. I ran three miles around a local reservoir and thought I’d do it once a week to keep in shape.”
But he was bitten by the running bug and in October that year made his marathon debut in York.
He said: “I enjoyed it and returned to do it in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I love the event I’m really looking forward to this year’s race”