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I’m Going to be a Runner One Day
By Stuart Wadlow

My story starts back in 1989, December 19th at 9:00 am, a Tuesday to be precise.  It was the last day of school before the Christmas break. I’m Stuart, age 13, and today the deputy head teacher walks into a German class I am attending to tell me to pack my things and await collection at reception. This is also the day my father Graham, 38, suffered a massive heart attack on the way to work and died. He crashed his car and ended up in a ditch not long after changing the tire on his Triumph Dynamo, registration BMC 64OT (isn’t it funny the things you remember) and then having a roll-up cigarette.
 
Now fast forward 19 years and history is repeating itself. There I am in the Royal Gwent Hospital having a series of MIs (myocardial infarctions) and unstable angina. I’m now 32, s regular binge drinker and yes, a roll-up smoker. How did I let this happen? Well I figured I was going to end up living a short life so I might as well enjoy it. But now the pain is unbearable, off the scale, and very scary.  I don’t really think I’m going to beat this. I tell my girlfriend Janine that if I survive this, we’ll get married and have kids as it was the only thing that ever stopped me. The thought of leaving a little boy whilst I went off and died, well I know what that’s like. By then, Janine had been with me three years, left her friends and family, and followed me to Wales. I had not changed nor had I slowed the partying down. In fact, it was getting worse and it was killing me... literally.

What has this all got to do with running and marathons? Answer: a procedure called angiogram and angioplasty with stent. It was like turning off the tap on arm, chest, and jaw pain. Thank you so much Mr. clever masterful surgeon! This should not have happened to me but it has, mentally. I’ve wised up, yes, and I want to change and give back. Cardiac Charities of the UK… I’m going to be a runner one day and run for you.
 
Now full of tablets to keep me ok, I start small. Just a walk in the supermarket, holding on to the trolley is very scary and tiring. Next, during my eight weeks cardiac rehabilitation, I tell them my dream and they say easy does it at first. 14 months pass and it’s now time for the Cardiff Half Marathon, October 18, 2009, I’ve raised £2000 for the BHF. All I have to do now is run this race, but I’m scared… I have a wife now as I married Janine and had a dream wedding, dinosaur cave, and whale sharks! Will I keel over? There were the doubters, but I made it, In fact, I ran it in 88 minutes and now I’m hooked!
 
I’ve swum height of Mt. Everest, cycled the length of Wales, became a personal trainer and cardiac rehabilitation instructor, ran the London marathon in three hours, raised £1400 for another smaller cardiac charity, got a job as a running instructor, broke 80 minutes for the half marathon, and got a UK ranking. 
 
Who was that guy in hospital four years ago? Well, he’s a dad now to son Kobey. His daddy is now training for a 2 hour, 50 minute marathon and a 1:17 half marathon. Bring it on!

Thanks Stuart for sharing your article.

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