A 35-YEAR-OLD Dunfermline man is taking on an Ironman challenge just two years after undergoing heart surgery.

After struggling to keep pace with his mates playing football, Kevin McKee turned to running to boost his fitness levels.

His symptoms worsened and one day on the football pitch, he collapsed and was admitted to hospital.

Instead of three tricuspid valves, Kevin only had two, and they were being tested to the point that they had worn away due to his exercising.

Following surgery and a cardiac rehabilitation programme run by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, he's about to put his body to the limit.

The gruelling Wales Ironman is in his sights as he raises funds for leukaemia treatment for his friend's daughter.

Former Inverkeithing High School pupil Esther Jacobs' four-year-old tot, Alba, was diagnosed in December last year and has been undergoing chemotherapy.

Kevin is hoping to raise £750 from the gruelling endurance challenge that awaits him this Sunday.

He said: "I have two small children and could imagine how devastating it must be for the family.

"So, I decided to take on the Wales Ironman triathlon – a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2-mile run to raise funds in support of Alba and her family."

Kevin paid tribute to the support he received from family and the leisure trust as he faced his own health battle.

He said: "I’m very thankful for the help and encouragement I received from family and friends – I’m also hugely grateful to the cardiac rehab programme and the instructors who helped me in the crucial weeks after my surgery.

"I thought the rehab programme was great; I am hardly in the gym as I prefer to get active outdoors but, during the sessions, I gained the knowledge on how to use the equipment and to feel confident to get active again with the support of the trained instructors.

"Within months, I began to feel so much better and took on more physical activity, starting with walking and then getting back to cycling and eventually I felt strong enough to run the Edinburgh half marathon.

"Since then, I’ve gone from strength to strength – completing a 100-mile cycle, then doing the Tiree Ultra 35-mile run, followed by the Ben Nevis Braveheart triathlon."

To help Kevin raise funds for Alba, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tri-for-alba?utm_term=MD3z7g4Zb.