Richard’s journey back to health after a sudden heart attack began on December 16, 2014 when, as he was locking up after a day at work he collapsed.
“It was the day my world changed,” he recalls.
At 46-years-of-age, he weighed in at 9-stone, didn’t smoke and drank just three-pints of Guinness on a regular Thursday evening out.
Always fit, he ran and swam twice a week with a top-up of a conditioning class and weekly cycle – the training enabling him to compete in triathlons, duathlons (running and cycling), five and 10k races and cross country running.
While enjoying a pretty stress-free life, Richard was aware of a family history of cardiac problems, but had shrugged off what, in hindsight, were warning signs – he had passed off dizziness and palpitations as low blood sugar. A lack of energy was put down to a virus or bug.
However, that was not the case and, as he was locking up after work, Richard remembers clearly the moment he had his heart attack.
“I had a massive pain and pressure in my chest and felt dizzy, hot and sweaty, nauseous and my arms felt heavy. At one point I think I blacked out.”
A call was made to his wife Kate and there followed surgery and weeks of rehabilitation – with a large amount of shock and worry to go with it!
While medics’ feelings were mixed about Richard’s return back to competitive sport, it was his fitness prior to the attack that played a part in saving his life…and he was determined, with the support of his wife Kate, to fight back.
Fast-forward to 2018, and with the help of his family, the Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme and the Magna Vitae team at Meridian, he is currently preparing for three weeks on Australia’s Gold Coast as a GB Triathlete in his age group. That will be followed by a duathlon age group competition in Ibiza in October.
“The cardiac team built up my confidence and gave me parameters that I could work to. It seemed then that my life was getting back to normal.
“I cannot thank everyone enough for their support, the cardiac team, my family and everyone here at Magna Vitae,” said Richard, who has his own gardening business.
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme runs at Meridian Leisure Centre every Thursday afternoon. The programme is free to attend, and referrals are accepted from both members of the public and health professionals, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
For general fitness programmes, the trained and experienced Lifestyle Consultants at Meridian Leisure Centre, Louth and Station Sports Centre, Mablethorpe are happy to help all levels of age and ability.