He’s started so he’ll finish

A Bristol marathon runner and author is back pounding the pavements after surgery to give him a new knee.

Mr Phil Hewitt, a 73-year-old veteran of 15 marathons, including three in London and one in New York, had his left knee joint replaced at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre. He said: “Thirty years of long-distance running on pavements eventually caught up with me. At one point I was running 100 miles each week.

“Around six years ago I started to get pain in my left knee. It got worse and eventually I had to give-up running, which had been such an important part of my life. In 1985 I had a book published, I’ve Started So I’ll Finish, which chronicled my life of running and the wonderful effects it had on my life and wellbeing.”

The discomfort increased: Mr Hewitt could no longer kneel, and bending his knee became impossible. He and his GP agreed that it was time for the knee to be replaced, so he was referred to Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre and he has not looked back.

He said: “Everyone was wonderful. I was so impressed I wrote to the Bristol Post to praise the team. Hospital director Rob Thomas read my published letter and invited me in to the centre to say thank you to me and to give me a tour of the centre.”

Mr Hewitt is back to his new passion: walking. He clocks up an average of eight miles a day, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Wye Valley or walking from Aust to Chepstow to meet friends for lunch.

Rob Thomas said: “I am delighted that Mr Hewitt is back doing the things he loves, pain-free. The pain of bone rubbing on bone, as arthritis degenerates the joint, can be excruciating. It can cause people to miss work, struggle to sleep and have to give up long-held hobbies.

“The good news is there is no need to suffer. Our waiting times for treatment are very short, with NHS patients having an average wait of eight weeks between us receiving their GP’s referral letter and having their operation.

“It is incredible to think that in just eight weeks’ time people could be on the road to recovery – to once again be pain-free and enjoying their lives and loves.”