AFTER almost losing a close friend from two heart attacks at the age of 29, a dedicated Halesowen runner has spent the past 14 years raising thousands of pounds in support.

Jim Semple’s best mate Rob Hawthorne survived a double heart attack in 2004 and has been indebted to the support of Dudley borough charity Action Heart in helping his recovery.

Having raised more than £10,000 for Action Heart, Jim is preparing to kick start his 2018 fundraising efforts by heading to America for the LA Marathon on March 18.

The 44-year-old, who will be completing his eighth marathon, is hoping to raise plenty of money for the Russells Hall Hospital-based charity as he gets back into running after being injured for 10 weeks with a torn calf.

Jim said: “Rob’s personal story is quite unique. Fortunately he survived and, after triple stent surgery, he made a full recovery.

“Some 14 years on he continues to enjoy a normal, very healthy active lifestyle – he swim's 60 lengths most days – and is always indebted to the support of Action Heart.

“So in an effort to continue raising awareness, in particular to a younger audience, I have committed to running the LA Marathon this March.

“After 10 weeks out injured recently with a torn calf and with temperatures in the high 80s expected, this will no doubt be a tough day at the office.

“All of the proceeds will be split between the outstanding Action Heart, who provide such sterling work supporting and rehabilitating cardiac patients, including Rob himself, and more nationally, the ongoing brilliant work of the British Heart Foundation.”

In 2016, Jim made a commitment to run three marathons each year for charity – inspired by the 1989 Chicago Marathon winner Paul Davies-Hale, who now works for Action Heart – completing runs in Brighton, Edinburgh and Bournemouth.

Jim followed that up with Milton Keynes and Stirling last year, finishing 2017 by running his personal best of three hours, 35 minutes in the freezing cold wet rain of the Scottish Highlands at the Loch Ness Marathon (pictured below).

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To support Jim’s as he takes part in the LA Marathon and donate to Action Heart, visit

Action Heart’s cardiac rehabilitation programme is one of the longest running in the UK and looks after more than 700 patients at any one time, on a programme of exercise and lifestyle management.