To enter the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run, visit: Greatrun.org/Winter

A man with epilepsy will take on the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run in the New Year after he discovered that running helps him to manage his condition.

Alex Hepburn, from Blantyre in Lanarkshire, was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2000, after suffering multiple episodes before realizing their severity.

His diagnosis came after a severe seizure caused him to fall from his chair and knock his head, causing a huge tangerine-sized lump behind his ear.

He has suffered around 12 grand mal seizures every year, which often knocks him unconscious and causes him to shake.

Alex, who works as a mortgage validator, says he suffered frequent seizures when he was first diagnosed, but they are gradually decreasing thanks to trial and error treatment.

As his medication has a lot of side effects, including depression and anger, Alex decided to start running earlier in the year, as his doctor advised that it may help to control his seizures and improve his mental wellness.

He found that running towards a goal helped him manage his mental health and also reduced the amount of seizures that he was having, so he decided to sign up to the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run on Saturday 13 January.

Alex, 31, said: “I was first diagnosed with epilepsy back in 2000 and I had experiences a few seizures before that, but never realised it was epilepsy until I had the formal diagnosis.

“It came to a head when I was swinging in a chair and fell and took a pretty bad knock to the head had a big lump under my ear the size of a tangerine.

“To this day the doctors still don't know what causes my seizures to occur which is often the case with epilepsy.

“I suffered a lot of small episodes but I have also had around 12 larger ones which effect my consciousness and I would even have them in my sleep, without any warning.

“At my age, the condition is likely to be guaranteed for life as it's not something you can ‘grow out of' once you pass your teens.

“At first the seizures were frequent but as the years went on and with a lot of trial and error with various medications it is now somewhat under control.

“However, my medication has a lot of side effects. I suffer badly from tiredness and memory loss and other side effects also include severe depression and anger.

“I started running around two months ago when a girl called at my local church, Michelle, decided to run the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run to raise money for a local primary school.

“She spoke about how much joy she got out of it. I spoke to my doctors and they advised that it would also be a good way to manage my condition and with encouragement from Michelle and her partner Stuart I thought I should give it a try.

“I make sure I train at a manageable pace and don't push myself too hard. I've never looked back and now there's a large group of us from the community running every week.”

Alex will join 3,000 others to kick start their New Year at the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run.

The 5k starts and finishes in Edinburgh's Holyrood Park, offering participants a scenic route travelling up Arthur's Seat and giving beautiful views of the city.

Alex decided to sign up to the event as a way to keep his motivation high over winter.

He added: “I entered the 5k to put a benchmark down as I am hoping to do the 10k at the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run later in the year.

“It's a great way for me to keep up my winter running and I used to live in Edinburgh before I moved near Glasgow.

“I've never ran there before so it's good to try something new. “Mentally, the training helps greatly not just with the epilepsy but to cope with everyday life.

“When running it's the only time my mind is completely clear. It's nice to be able to just focus on the 10ft in front of me and celebrate what my body can do instead of thinking about what it can't do."

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run, visit: Greatrun.org/Winter