I started running when I was 13 or 14 years old. By the time I was 16, I ran around 20km daily.
After work, after school and so it went for years. Cut to the summer of 2005 and I felt something was wrong. Suddenly when I ran I needed more time for my daily route or I felt much more tired than usual. I thought – never mind – it mustn’t be anything – I was a young and strong man. Maybe a flu is coming, or that I am still sick or something like that. In January 2006 my doctor checked me out as my condition had gotten worse. He said that there was something wrong with the heart valve in my aorta. He said to have it checked every 6 months, but other than that, all normal. So time when on, however, everything was not normal, culminating in the summer of 2007 when I could no longer climb the steps to my second floor. On October 16th – only 12 days after my 34th birthday - they were forced to immediately implant an artificial heart valve for me to live on.
After the operation they told me it could be possible to do sports, but that I needed to control my heartbeat and that it shouldn’t be faster than 100bpm. 100bpm? Impossible… so no more sports. My life went on while I became a couch potato.
Last year I decided I couldn’t keep away any longer from sport. I decided to start running again – first walking, then walking faster, followed by some intervals until I was able again to run 5k in one go. Every year I need to go to my cardiologist to check (and he knows my sporting aspirations) so with his ok I’ve set out on this path. I have done more training and now even a half-marathon. I have found my old life and passion again. I love to run.
I think there are much more people like me with heart problems sidelining them from sport, so I want to show them that they can do something like this – they don’t need to be couch potatoes like I was and I wish someone had told me earlier there’s always a way to run on…