Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Race completed a year after suffering heart attack

A MAN from Woodcote made his debut in the village’s 10km race exactly a year after suffering a

A MAN from Woodcote made his debut in the village’s 10km race exactly a year after suffering a heart attack.

Richard Hart, who took up running as part of his rehabilitation, finished the course in 67 minutes on Sunday morning.

It was very different from January 11 last year when the 57-year-old collapsed at his home in Beech Lane and was rushed to the cardiology unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

A surgical team took just over two hours to locate a blockage in a blood vessel supplying his heart and cleared it.

They inserted a stent, which is a tiny wire mesh tube that holds arteries open, via a vessel in his groin.

Mr Hart, a father-of-three, suffered no permanent damage or disability.

He was instructed to take up exercise to aid his recovery and to lose weight as this had played a part in the heart attack. He started by taking short walks along public footpaths around the village but gradually progressed to jogging.

At first he could only manage a few hundred yards as he had not regularly exercised since his youth but he gradually increased his distance.

He learned about the Woodcote 10km in the spring and entered with the encouragement of his wife Sharon and children, Louise, 25, Matthew, 20, and Thomas, 13.

Mr Hart, a business development manager, has since dropped from 16st 11lb to 14st 11lb and hopes to lose another stone-and-a-half in the coming months.

He said: “I had to take my recovery slowly at first but a 10km soon seemed like a suitable and achievable target.

“When I realised the Woodcote run was on the anniversary of my heart attack, I felt like someone was trying to tell me something. It gave me almost a year to get myself a bit lighter and fitter.

“It was a very gradual process but it gave me a chance to discover some of the beautiful countryside we have in this part of the world.

“About three weeks beforehand I was getting a bit worried so I went out and ran the official course without telling anyone. I managed to complete it so that took off some of the pressure.

“I wasn’t too fussed about what time I’d get but I didn’t want to be the last by a long way either.’

Mr Hart was joined in Sunday’s race by Matthew, who was placed 79th with a time of 45 minutes and 16 seconds, and his wife, who finished in just under 66 minutes.

Thomas also ran but could not officially enter as he is under 15.

Mr Hart raised £1,716.92 for the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s cardiac care team.

He said: “I only survived to take part in the event because of the care I received and I really feel like I’ve been given a second chance. I recognise that I’m very lucky. From the operator who took my wife’s call to the paramedics and the hospital team, it was a fantastic team effort and I’m very grateful.’

This year’s race was organised by the Rotary Club of Pangbourne, which has taken over from the Goring, Woodcote and District Lions Club after the latter disbanded last year.

There were 470 runners and the event raised about £4,750, which will go to a range of causes including the Prostate Cancer Research Centre at University College London.

First to finish was Scott Forbes, 39, from Wokingham, who came home in 35 minutes and 20 seconds, while the first woman home was Joanna Zmyslona with a time of 39 minutes and 32 seconds.

Organiser Dick Hoskins said: “I think it was hugely successful. Numbers were up on last year, the sun shone and we’ve had lots of praise from those who took part.’

To donate to Mr Hart’s campaign, visit

• The full results of the Woodcote 10km will be published in next week’s Henley Standard.

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