Sunderland man who survived suspected heart attack to take on world-record attempt in honour of dad - just months after health scare

A man who survived a suspected heart attack is saddling up for a world-record attempt – making it a charity challenge in honour of his dad.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:55 pm
Left to right: Steven Whitelaw, Chris Scougal, Harry Kerr

Chris Scougal 35, a former Farringdon Community Sports College pupil, has set the wheels in motion for a world-record attempt for the longest cycle on a multi-person bike.

Chris plans to then immediately take part in the Sunderland 10k – the first mass participation running event to be held in the North East after the easing of COVID restrictions.

Chris said: "Setting a world record would be a fine way to remember my dad and to achieve something special in his name. And we’re grateful to the Sunderland City Run organisers for giving us the opportunity to celebrate our successful ride with a 10K ‘lap’ of honour.”

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Steven Whitelaw, Harry Kerr, Chris Scougal in training for their challenge

Joined by friends Harry Kerr, 42, a senior charge nurse with the NHS, and Steven Whitelaw, 35, a fellow funeral director, Chris will climb aboard a triplet – a three rider cycle – for a 167-mile journey from Glasgow to Sunderland in June.

The trio will then dash across the city to tackle the Sunderland City 10K run after securing three spaces from event organisers Events of the North.

They have dubbed themselves Team Charlie Boy in honour of Chris’ dad, Charlie, who died suddenly of a heart attack in 2014, and money raised will go to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

The trio are set to arrive at the Roker Hotel in Sunderland, which has sponsored the team and is providing free rooms for the cyclists to recuperate in following their challenge, by 8am on Sunday June 20 – Father’s Day.

Left to right - Harry Kerr, Chris Scougal and Steven Whitelaw

They will then have just a short time to freshen up and get to the start line for the Sunderland City 10K, which will start at 10am.

Chris, who now lives in Glasgow, said: “I only found out after dad had died that he’d been donating to the charity.

"He’d had a stroke a year before that he never told any of us about and giving money to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland was his way of saying thanks for helping him.”

Chris’ own health is also on his mind after a heart scare in January.

After dad Charlie’s untimely death at the age of just 54, the funeral professional was diagnosed with an ectopic heartbeat, a mild palpitation that causes the heart to beat irregularly.

When Chris began to suffer chest pains on a quiet evening, he was admitted to hospital where he was diagnosed with a suspected heart attack.

Chris, who has given up smoking and junk food, said: “After what happened to me in January, I really want to promote awareness of heart health in younger people.

"I want people to realise that it is not just the elderly or unfit people who can be affected by a heart attack.”

He added: “I’m 35 and relatively fit and healthy. If this can happen to me, then it can happen to anyone. Heart health is so important.

"I’ve also realised that I only have one life, so I have to do everything I possibly can. I don’t want to leave with any regrets.”

Anyone wishing to support Chris, Harry and Steven can make a donation on the Team Charlie Boy fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/teamcharlieboy.

This year’s Sunderland City Runs will take place on Saturday June 19 and Sunday June 20, and will be the first major mass participation sports event in the North East after COVID restrictions start to ease.

Places on the Sunderland City 5K, 10K and Half Marathon are available now at www.sunderlandcity10k.com.

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