An IT technician who took up running after he suffered a heart attack is taking part in a 24-hour relay race in aid of the Macmillan Woodlands Appeal at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Gary Durrant, 53, of Bascraft Way, Godmanchester, also ran in the Hunts 10k on Sunday (June 21) in 51 minutes 32 seconds.

He will join a group of runners at The Exhibition pub in Godmanchester tomorrow (Saturday, June 27) for the RUN GMC 24 relay.

Gary, who works at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, underwent heart surgery at Papworth Hospital in September 2014 and described the day he realised he had suffered a heart attack.

"I woke up at 4.30am and felt a bit rough, but I went to work and later in the day I took some indigestion tablets, but through the morning I starting feeling worse and thought I would pop into A&E seeing as I work right next door.

"They told me I had had a heart attack and I didn't believe them. The staff in A&E told me I needed to go to Papworth, but not realising how serious the situation was I suggested I would go the next day but was told it couldn't wait."

Gary, who was fitted with a stent at Papworth, vowed he would change his diet and get himself fit and went on his first run in December 2014. "It was just 2km and was extremely hard. In fact, it felt awful, really horrible, but after about three weeks of going out two or three times a week I started to enjoy it and it got easier."

In just six months, Gary has gone from running 2km to running 10km regularly and is training for a half marathon. In the process, he has reduced his chances of having another heart attack by 75 per cent and lost more than 2st.

Having lost his mother to cancer four years ago and working so close to the Woodlands Centre, Gary has been inspired to use his new found fitness to give something back to the community.

"I see the new centre every day when I come into work and I am aware of all the good work they do so it makes sense to raise money for Macmillan so they can continue the good work."

INFORMATION: For more on the woodlands appeal, go to www.macmillan.org.uk/hinchingbrooke. Tomorrow's relay starts at 12noon. It will be followed by the annual Godmanchester Fun Run from 12noon on Sunday (June 28).