A DAD stunned to discover he had a heart defect has run a half marathon to thank surgeons for saving his life.

Ian Stanley, from Barnton, had a triple heart bypass last September after specialists diagnosed clogged arteries.

Just 12 months later, the 58-year-old joined 43,000 runners to complete the Great North Run and raised more than £2,500 for the Royal Stoke University Hospital and the British Heart Foundation.

Dad-of-two Ian had no idea he had a life-threatening condition until he became breathless.

Ian, of Yew Tree Drive, said: “I was only 11 stone and had a healthy diet but I was getting more and more out of breath. I was convinced I had asthma.

“Never for one minute did I think I’d have to have a heart bypass.”

Ian, a sales agent for five fishing tackle companies, has nothing but praise for the NHS.

“I went into hospital and they tried to put stents in at first but my arteries were too badly blocked,” he said. “I’m extremely lucky not to have had a heart attack.

“My condition was managed very carefully. It was absolutely fantastic. I can’t speak highly enough of the NHS.”

Ian’s mum, Florence Stanley, from Leftwich, said: “He made a marvellous recovery. It was very worrying at the time.

“We are so thankful to the surgeons for saving his life.”

His sister Jan said: “We are all very proud of Ian.”

Ian spent five days in hospital and was off work for three months.

As he was recuperating at home, he saw the Great North Run featured on TV.

“I said that’s what I’m going to do in 12 months and set myself a target,” he said. “I did several marathons in my 20s but had not done any running for ages.

“I just went out and motivated myself to run and kept on going. I had masses of support from my family.”

His daughter Hannah, 23, got married in May and his son Lewis, 19, is studying automotive engineering at Coventry University.

Ian started off doing a couch to 5k course with his wife Rachel, an electrical engineer.

The couple walked 186 miles along the entire Pembrokeshire coast path over two weekends and a week, a challenge his wife wanted to complete for her birthday.

“I went out to enjoy the marathon,” added Ian, a church warden at Christ Church in Barnton.

“The big thing was to raise money. I wanted to thank surgeons for saving my life. I was very very lucky. If I hadn’t gone to see a doctor I wouldn’t be here.

“I lost a very close friend while I was recovering, he had a massive heart attack. My advice to anyone who feels anything unusual is to see a GP.

“I feel great now and can do anything I want to do again. I’m playing golf and intend to keep up with my fitness.

“I want to thank everyone for their support.”