Newcastle brothers run the Junior & Mini Great North Run for the British Heart Foundation after their dad’s shock heart diagnosis

Max and Sam Martin, are running the Junior and Mini Great North Run on Saturday 10 September to raise money for the British Heart Foundation after their dad, a regular participant of the Great North Run, was diagnosed with a shock heart condition last year.

Steven Martin was diagnosed with an arrhythmia of the heart called ventricular tachycardia last year and was taken to hospital. His heart was racing uncontrollably fast for an unknown reason.

It was a shock to the family. With Steven being a young and fit adult, having completed over 10 Great North Runs and participating in the London Marathon, the diagnosis took the family by complete surprise.

Speaking to Steven on the impact of his diagnosis, he said, “You take for granted day to day things like being a dad and being able to fool around.

“I wasn’t able to chase them about, I wasn’t able to take them to the park and have a game of football, and we couldn’t go out on bike rides anymore like we’d been doing through Covid.

“Saying that, I’m getting it back now. I am doing the things I had been doing like swimming and general things you do as a dad with kids. But it was really difficult for me at the start because they expected me to just be the way I was before and I was unable to do that.”

After two surgeries, the second one being successful, Steven is hoping to run the Mini Great North Run with his youngest this September.

“I went to watch the Junior Mini Great North Run last year in between surgeries, which Max and Sam ran with my wife. Watching my kids doing it on my behalf, to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, it was obviously really close to us. It brings a sense of fulfillment and a sense of pride.

“I’m hoping this year I’ll be able to run it with my youngest. The eldest might be a bit too fast for me to go around with, but the 5-year-old might be just the right pace for me!”

Speaking on the impact of the Great North Run, Steven said, “I just get a great sense of pride with it being on my doorstep. You can see familiar faces in the crowd. It’s also great to keep fit throughout the year with the incentive of the Great North Run.”

His two sons have provided invaluable support throughout his diagnosis. He mentions, “With them not knowing everything, it cheers me up no end. Because, they’re just getting on with normal life and that helps me to try and get some sort of new normal.

“The main thing for me is just being positive. Don’t get us wrong you get some dark days. I’ve been healthy my whole life up until now and when you have these curveballs thrown at you it’s a bit of a wake up call. So, my main thing is positivity and eventually you will get back to some sort of normality. Having an end goal in sight is what I’ve been working towards. Positivity is the key thing really.”

Max, Sam, and their dad, Steven will run together on Saturday 10 September around Newcastle Gateshead Quayside for the Junior and Mini Great North Run.

It’s part of a fantastic weekend of sport in Newcastle, seeing thousands of people running in aid of fun, fitness and fundraising.

For more information about the event, click here.