Family's heartbreak after 'beloved son' dies during West Country half marathon

26-year-old Mike Harper tragically died after suffering a cardiac arrest while running a half marathon in Bristol
-Credit: (Image: CRY/Family Handout)

Tributes have been paid to a "beloved son" and "incredible brother" who tragically passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest while participating in a half marathon. Participating in the Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday, May 19, alongside thousands of others, Mike Harper collapsed during the event.

Despite receiving medical attention, he sadly died in hospital. The family of the 26-year-old expressed their devastation at his sudden loss. Mike, who had no known health issues, was a fitness enthusiast who enjoyed travelling, running, playing football, partying with friends, and exploring London with his girlfriend Ailsa.

In honour of Mike, an online memorial fund has been set up to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). The charity aims to increase awareness of young sudden cardiac death, provide support to those affected, back CRY's screening programme, and fund research and pathology, reports Bristol Live.

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In a heartfelt tribute, his family said: "We are devastated to say we lost Mike to a sudden cardiac arrest while running in the Bristol Half Marathon, a city he once called home. He had no known health issues or family history of young sudden cardiac death. He was otherwise healthy and always prioritised fitness.

"This loss has been so unimaginably difficult to come to terms with and CRY offer such important support. We'd love if you have the means to donate to CRY to help us raise money to aid cardiac screening and raise awareness of the potential risk of cardiac arrest in youth. The charity also provide screening for immediate family members due to the connection between sudden cardiac death and genetics.

"And for Mike, we don't want any one else to lose anybody in this cruel and shocking way. Thank you for your generosity and ongoing support."

Originally from Lincoln, Mike relocated to Bristol after completing his studies at Sheffield University to work as a quantity surveyor with Laing O'Rourke at Hinckley Point. His career later took him to London in 2023, where he was involved in the Olympia redevelopment project.

Donations can be made to Mike's memorial page on the CRY website here.