A North East dad of one who had a heart attack during last year’s Great North Run is set to complete this year’s event after medical teams got him back to full fitness.

Daniel Johnson, 42, from Hebburn, was on the Felling Bypass during the half marathon in 2022 when he started to feel unwell.

Despite battling on, he came to a stop and sat on the grass verge.

It was thanks to two mystery good Samaritans also in the run that he received the urgent help he needed.

Read more: Great North Run 2023: Full timetable for LNER extra trains

They got him to the St John Ambulance help point near Lingley Lane, where its team helped bluelight him to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.

There, the team confirmed he was having a heart attack and stabilised him.

He was transferred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where cardiology specialists used angioplasty under local anaesthetic to access his arteries through his wrist.

As they removed a one-inch blood clot which caused his heart attack, Daniel experienced a dangerous heart rhythm.

The Northern Echo: Daniel Johnson taking part in the Gateshead Half MarathonDaniel Johnson taking part in the Gateshead Half Marathon (Image: NHS)

A defibrillator was used to restore his normal pulse.

The specialists also cleared plaque from his arteries and put in a stent to help keep a section open – he has since had another fitted.

Now after almost a year of rehabilitation through South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Team, he is ready for Sunday's event.

His heart attack was due to coronary artery disease and he has family links to the condition, as his mam Doreen had a heart attack aged 46. She is now doing well.

Before last year’s run, his second, he had trained and lived a healthy lifestyle, but has since made changes to improve it further.

The Northern Echo: Daniel Johnson and his wife CarolineDaniel Johnson and his wife Caroline (Image: NHS)

He said: “The help I’ve been given has been constant ever since my heart attack. When I came out of the Freeman it was great, they contacted me straight away and it was a help to be able to talk to someone.

“I was started on a six-month cardiac rehab course. They tell you about what food to eat, how to get your heart to be strong again and how to build it up slowly using low-intensity exercise like walking.

“There’s no pushing, it’s more about scaling up and doing it at your own pace to suit you, but it’s also about having someone to talk to and taking the advice of the cardiac nurses.

“Other people who have heard I’ve had a heart attack have said ‘How can you do that now?’ but I never backed that idea from the start.

"I’ve concentrated on coming back from it and people seem to think I’m mad for doing it and say I should take it easy, but I want to live well.

Daniel, who is married to Caroline, 39, and is dad to Ivy, five, works for the railway.

The Northern Echo: Daniel Johnson pictured after he was admitted to hospital.Daniel Johnson pictured after he was admitted to hospital. (Image: NHS)

He goes to the gym at the South Tyneside Council community building where he had his rehab care.

The North East dad now hopes to get over the finish line on Sunday.

He added:' “It’s a running joke that my time for this year’s Great North Run will be 364 days, two hours and 25 minutes, but I’m looking forward to getting over the finishing line this time.”

It's not just Daniel who is hoping this year's Great North Run goes well, though.

Dr Mickey Jachuck is a Consultant Cardiologist and Physician as well as the Trust’s Clinical Director for Cardiothoracic Medicine.

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He will be running the Great North Run again this weekend, having helped start it in 2021 as one of four North East NHS heroes in the wake of the pandemic.

He said: “It is great to hear Daniel’s story and how well he is doing.

“I’m exceptionally proud of our team and what they do to help people when they are diagnosed with heart conditions.

“Daniel is a shining example of what can be achieved when we work together, as well as our regional expertise in helping save the lives of cardiac patients.

“I look forward to him crossing that finishing line.”