BHF funded researcher, Mike Dodd, knows first hand how important fundraising is to fighting heart disease, so he decided to lead by example and set out on his own 13.1 mile running challenge.
I was inspired to study for a PhD at Oxford due to my family history of heart disease. During my time there I discovered I carry the mutation which led to my Dad, and several other family members, developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This is a condition where the heart wall becomes thicker than the normal. HCM is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young people and if left untreated can lead to heart failure in later life. Whilst I carry the gene, I haven’t yet developed the condition, but I may later in life. Additionally, there is a chance that I may pass the condition on to any children that my wife and I have.
For the last six years the BHF has supported my research at Oxford. We have been trying to understand how the heart’s supply and usage of fuel, such as fat and sugar, is altered during disease. This isn’t an easy task and will take time to figure out, which is why the support of the BHF and the people who give their time and money are so invaluable. I wanted to do something to give back to the charity and taking part in an organised event seemed the best way to go about it. For five years I took part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride, but last year I decided that I wanted a different challenge, so I signed up for the Blenheim Palace Half Marathon. 13.1 miles initially seemed a huge task since I’d only ever run five miles in one go before, but with my wife at my side we decided to give it a go.
When it came to the day it was perfect running weather; a little sunny but not too hot. The atmosphere was electric, everyone was excited and possibly a little nervous (I know I was) about the task ahead. The crowds lining most of the course were amazing; spurring you on and psychologically giving you a lift. This was a great help, especially in the last couple of miles where your energy levels are a little low, and that shout of “Come on, you can do it!” gives you the will to continue. I admit I wish I had trained a little more – I was definitely struggling a little at the end! But with the crowd’s support we crossed the line with huge smiles having successfully completed the half marathon.
I am very grateful for the support the BHF has given me in my research, but most of all I am grateful for all the time and effort that volunteers, donors, runners, cyclists and all other supporters give to raise awareness of, and funds for, the BHF. The money that is raised from events like the BHF Half Marathons is vital to fund essential research into heart disease. Your support really does make a huge difference and may one day help us to beat heart disease.
Help us to fund more life-saving research like Mike's and sign up for a half marathon today.