Heart scare runner ‘lucky to be alive’

Gordon Birkin, 53, had a heart attack during a duathalon on Sunday. Pictured at his home at Cotmanhay he is lucky to be alive.
Gordon Birkin, 53, had a heart attack during a duathalon on Sunday. Pictured at his home at Cotmanhay he is lucky to be alive.

An Ilkeston man who suffered a heart attack while taking part in a sporting event has been told he is lucky to be alive.

Gordon Birkin, 53, from Cotmanhay, was taking part in the 20km Broxtowe duathlon on October 12 when he started suffering from chest pains just one kilometre from the finish line.

He completed the race, but when the pain began to get worse he sought help from the St John Ambulance, who immediately called for paramedics. He was then taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and told he had suffered a heart attack.

Gordon, who recently took part in the Robin Hood half marathon, spent three nights in hospital.

He said: “I was feeling good in the morning . I did the first 4k run no problem, then the 14k bike ride no problem. The last 2k was when the problems started, but I carried on. I finished and shook people’s hands, then I said to my partner Gail ‘I think I’ve got a problem.’”

It was then that he sought help and received treatment in the back of the ambulance. An ECG scan later showed that he had suffered a heart attack.

He was moved to Nottingham City Hospital where he had a stent put in his heart.

“I was told that if I wasn’t as fit as I am I would be dead.

“Over the last two years I have done events quite regularly, all over the country.

“I had high blood pressure six years ago so took up fitness. It probably saved my life.

“At the moment I’m scared to do anything but doctors reassured me people do go on to do things. I may have to get checked over by a doctor first.

“It’s such a massive loss. I had things planned such as the Evil Sheriff in Sherwood Pines in Nottingham.”

Gordon, who works at Amcor Flexibles and is recovering at home, even took part in a 60km duathlon in London earlier this year to raise money for Scope.