JUST six months ago, there would have been no way Harrison Read could run more than 100 metres without seriously risking his health.
But now, just six months after a heart operation, he is getting ready to lace up his trainers and run all 10 miles of the Great South Run.
The 16-year-old South Downs College student, from Cowplain, suffered from supraventricular tachycardia, which would see his heart race to 150 beats per minute even while he was sitting in class.
An average resting rate should be between 50 and 90.
The condition was so serious that he stopped being able to play sport, even once being airlifted off a rugby pitch when his heart rate spiked to 210bpm.
‘It took a massive toll on my childhood,’ he said.
‘I was keen on playing sport, but it affected me as it slowed me down.
‘I did play football up until last year, but it was noticeable that I wasn’t able to do a lot.’
It took three years to diagnose Harrison, and a year after that to decide on the best treatment.
Doctors had wanted to insert a pacemaker to regulate the beat using electronic pulses, but Harrison was adamant he wanted the problem corrected, rather than regulated.
So, in April, Harrison was admitted to the University Hospital Southampton’s Wessex Cardiac Unit, which is supported by the Wessex Hearbeat charity.
He had corrective surgery to remove part of the heart muscle that was interfering with its beat.
He allowed himself six weeks to recover, and then 12 weeks after that he started running – and will use the GSR as a way to raise money for Wessex Heartbeat.
He has also joined the Royal Navy Reserves and has passed the fitness test to be a lifeguard.
Harrison is fundraising online at justgiving.com/ harrison-read.