Leeds student who suffered stroke mid-race prepares to run again

A young runner who suffered a stroke on a half marathon and had to have part of his skull removed is preparing to compete again after a brave recovery.

Alex Valentine after he suffered a stroke in May 2015. Picture: SWNS

Student Alex Valentine, 21, collapsed at the tenth mile of the Leeds Half Marathon in May last year when the left side of his body suddenly malfunctioned.

He was rushed to hospital where surgeons removed part of his skull to stop the swelling crushing his brain, leaving a dent in the side of his head.

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For a while Mr Valentine - who had been previously fit - was unable to talk or use the bathroom on his own.

Alex Valentine before he suffered his stroke in May 2015. Picture: SWNS

He still uses a wheelchair but can now walk with the help of leg-splints and a walking stick although he tires quickly.

But almost a year later, he has started exercising again and hopes to run once more, possibly with a para-athletics league.

Mr Valentine, from Sherborne, Dorset said: “Having a stroke makes me more determined to go back to running.

“I want to get back into fitness. Every day I exercise now, I spend a lot of time cross training and rowing but the aim is to get back to running.

Alex Valentine before he suffered his stroke in May 2015. Picture: SWNS

“I’m not afraid to run again, I don’t think the chances of having another stroke are very high.”

Mr Valentine, who was studying at the University of Leeds, told student newspaper The Tab: “I remember very little about what happened.

“I felt a little dizzy for the first ten miles but I just put it down to fatigue and kept going.

“Then half of my body stopped getting a signal from my brain and I hit the tarmac, it was really confusing.”

Mr Valentine said before the stroke he could easily run 20 miles a week - but has since needed to learn how to walk again.

He spent six months at a neurological assessment centre at Poole Hospital in Dorset where he wore a helmet to protect the exposed part of his skull.