News - 25th January 2022

Stronger than ever


Johnathon experienced an unexpected and surprising health condition, and as part of his recovery and lifestyle changes attended parkrun for the first time and is now stronger than ever.


Living a healthy and active life, he and his doctors had a puzzle to solve. It turns out that Johnathon found himself diagnosed with a very serious and relatively sudden health condition, Congestive Heart Failure, which was induced by viral cardiomyopathy, a virus that affects the heart.


“It was a complete surprise to me because I was in reasonable shape.  My diet was heavy on protein and I wasn’t a huge guy”


Johnathon was always physically active. He trained and coached student athletes in various sports including football. However, an unexpected occurrence in 2019 caused a life altering visit to the emergency room.




He started to feel flu-like symptoms and serious enough that he sought help at a hospital. On 5 July that year it came as a shock that the doctors told him he had a condition called Congestive Heart Failure.  It’s a serious condition where the heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should and fails to keep up with demands from the body.  Symptoms develop as a faster heartbeat, shortness of breath and fatigue among others.


“After the initial onset and diagnosis, it was then two years in and out of hospital” Johnathon explained.  “It was worrying for me and my family, as I have a wife and three kids at home”.


In the two years, Johnathon decided to make some changes.  “My lifestyle wasn’t that bad, but I decided to clean up on a few things”.




At the beginning of 2021, the condition largely regressed and Johnathon could really focus on his recovery.  “In addition to the lifestyle changes I made regarding eating and drinking, I took up some light jogging and running”.


Interested in running with people and to take part in a like minded community, Johnathon went looking and found parkrun through an internet search.  “It was a perfect match!”  Johnathon exclaimed.  “It looked like the sort of thing I was after – a friendly, encouraging group, where everyone was celebrated’.


“My first parkrun was on 9 October 2021 and what stood out to me was how warm and welcoming everyone was”.  Johnathon attended Livonia parkrun, which has been holding events since 2012.


Johnathon did admit there would always be an intimidating factor when going to a group with new people, but parkrun seemed different and he didn’t let anything stop him.




“I really enjoyed it, people were introducing themselves to me and giving me a very warm welcome.” Johnathon explained.  “A volunteer even took my photo and made sure they had all the right information”


Johnathon used parkrun as part of his recovery and made it that much easier to get out, be active and meet like-minded people.


“There’s another nice end to this story too.” Johnathon goes for follow ups as part of the recovery and was surprised when he heard the same thing from two different hospitals.




“They both told me that I was too healthy for someone who was previously needing a heart transplant.  I am way healthier than before, and healthier than the average police officer!”


Looking back Johnathon is really proud of his journey.  “It was super crazy and I like that everything I did, all the changes I made incuding lifestyle and parkrun all tie into each other.


“What I love most about parkrun is how positive it is, I love being outside, around trees, and enjoying it with other people.”






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