A Bingley man is running two half-marathons this spring in support of his friend’s two-year-old son, who has the heart muscle disease cardiomyopathy.

Former ‘couch potato’ Rob Rushforth, 39, is supporting Marty Bishop, of Thackley, who was found to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the womb.

The disease causes the heart muscle to thicken, which can affect the heart’s electrical system and reduce its pumping power.

Mr Rushforth, of Britannia Wharf, is running the Milton Keynes Half Marathon on Sunday, March 10, and the Leeds Half Marathon on Sunday, May 12, to raise cash for the Cardiomyopathy Association, a charity that provides information and support to affected families. The customer relations consultant, who plays in a band called Northern Rokk with Marty’s dad Darren, said: “When Darren told me what he and his wife Sarah had been through with Marty I felt compelled to do something. They are lovely people and Marty is such a great little boy and so cute.”

As well as playing in a couple of gigs for the CMA, Rob decided to get active again.

He said: “I used to play amateur rugby league for Bank Top Harriers about ten years ago but got fed up and did no exercise for a long time. I realised last year before I went on holiday that I needed to lose some weight so I went on a diet, lost just over a stone and joined a gym.

“I run about three times a week depending on commitments and run to work which is a couple of miles.”

He hopes to complete the flat Milton Keynes route in under two hours and the more challenging Leeds route in 2hrs 10 minutes. He said: “I’ll be happy to finish them in one piece as long as I can raise plenty of money. “ To support him go to www.justgiving.com/rob-rushforth l Cardiomyopathy affects people of all ages, including babies, and is often inherited.

For more information about cardiomyopathy, visit www.cardiomyopathy.org