A TRAIL runner has told of the horrifying moment his brother had a heart attack while taking part in a cross-country race.

Alan Rippon, 48, collapsed while running his second lap of the 1,500 metre course at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy in Birtley, near Chester-le-Street.

The father-of-two, who trains with Derwent Valley Trail Runners, took ill at around 10.10am on Sunday.

His brother, John, 55, said: “It is shocking. Someone came over and told me that my brother had collapsed so I ran over.

“I just thought he had fallen down a hill or something. I didn’t realise that he had had a heart attack or anything like that.

“He was just lying there with his mouth open and his eyes open. I was in tears.”

Mr Rippon, from Sunniside, who works as a taxi driver, was helped initially by paramedics who were on site.

He was then put into an induced coma before he was flown to the RVI in Newcastle by the Great North Air Ambulance.

He has now had six heart stents fitted and doctors have told his family he has an underlying heart condition.

John Rippon, from Blaydon, who works as a groundsman at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, said: “He is awake but he is very confused and is in shock about what happened.

“Hopefully he is on the road to recovery now. He’s been very lucky because we have since been told the condition is hereditary. It could have happened at any time.

“He could have been out driving. He could have been out walking his dog. To me he was lucky because it happened somewhere where there was paramedics.Everybody was absolutely superb.”

Derwent Valley Trail Runners has set up an online fundraising page and so far has raised around £400 for Great North Air Ambulance.

A club spokesman said: “The medics were there instantly and without those medics, the fellow runners and the NHS the outcome could have been very different.

“So the club and Alan’s friends and family would like to show our appreciation for the amazing service provided by raising some money for the Great North Air Ambulance Service and show Alan our support and wish him a speedy recovery.”

To donate CLICK HERE.

A GNAA spokesman said: “A man was reported to have collapsed while running.

“Some fellow runners helped perform immediate bystander CPR, and the on scene medical team did a fantastic job.

"In addition to that, the North East Ambulance Service’s specialist paramedic ensured everything was prepared for our team arriving, which meant they could deliver advanced treatments without delay before flying the patient on to hospital.

“We’ve since learned that the running club has launched a fundraiser for our charity, which will mean others can get the help of our team in their time of need.

"We’d like to thank them for their generosity.”