Brian Roberts underwent a quadruple bypass in late November 2018. The 72-year-old explains how parkrun gave him the confidence to get active after such a major procedure, and how special it is being able to share it with his family.
Growing up, I played rugby until my mid-30s and that involved running in the close season. Once time caught up with me and my rugby days were over, I carried on running, and after a close friend of mine sadly died, I started running the Great North Run for charity, completing my first one in 2000.
After a few years of plodding away, in 2016 I noticed I kept feeling an annoying pain. I went to see the doctor, and after various appointments and tests, two years later I was diagnosed with Angina. Unfortunately, that was only the start of the deterioration of my health.
During the course of an investigation through an angiogram, a complication with the surgery meant my main artery was damaged. I was put on a waiting list for a bypass and suffered a heart attack, and subsequently had a quadruple bypass in Heath Hospital in Cardiff at the end of November.
Keen to start the long journey back to full health as soon as possible, I started my rehab straight away. Af first I could just about manage 50 yards of walking when I first started out. It was frustrating and difficult, but I was determined not to give up.
Slowly, over time I increased the distance day by day, to the point where I was walking up to five miles at a time. My attention then turned to running!
As part of my cardiovascular rehabilitation, the staff had me on a treadmill, running for five minutes at a time. My first run outside was along a canal, with just half a mile out and back. But just like my walking, as time went on I continued to build slowly, listening to my body, but determined to improve.
A friend of mine was regularly taking part in Pontypool parkrun, and one week I went along with him. I completed the 3 miles without stopping, although I found it took me about 2 miles before I got into a rhythm. I was absolutely exhausted afterwards.
Six months on, I have now completed eight parkruns in total, reducing my time from 40:48 to 33:59, which I think is not bad for someone in their seventies! parkrun has helped me rebuild my confidence, and my health in a welcoming environment.
But what has been really special about parkrun is that I can share it with my family. In May I ran at Porthcawl parkrun with my daughter and two granddaughters. To have the three generations together was a very special moment for me.
Julie McGlynn first heard about parkrun through British friends at the school where she works in Bangkok. Now with three generations of parkrunners in the family, Julie tells us about being reunited with the community at Lancaster parkrun during summers back home. It was three years ago since we found out about parkrun….
1. The promoter is: parkrun UK (company no.09411750 whose registered office is Lower Deck, Unit 3, Phoenix Wharf, Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, TW1 3DY) 2. The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom, with UK addresses, aged 18 years or over except employees of parkrun UK and their close relatives and anyone…