A Chorleywood man is running seven marathons in seven days to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Tommy Leigh, 31, has been inspired to take on the challenge after his father, Andy, had a heart attack last year.
He will complete his epic challenge at Chorleywood Common on June 18, one-year to the day since his father’s brush with death.
Tommy said: “Dad was walking his dog on the common when he suddenly collapsed. Fortunately, one of his neighbours saw what happened and rushed over to help. Dad was then rushed to Harefield Hospital by ambulance and had two stents fitted to improve the flow of blood to his heart.
“Only the day before, Dad had a heart scan at Watford General Hospital because he’d been experiencing chest pains. After the scan, the doctor said he would have to come back the following week for some more tests and prescribed him some medications including a GTN spray for use in an emergency.
“I am forever grateful that Dad was carrying the GTN spray because without using it, just after his heart attack, he might not be alive today.
“The whole thing was a massive shock. Dad was only 56 at the time. He doesn’t smoke, rarely drinks and he took part in Park Run every week.”
Following his father’s recovery, Tommy decided to set himself an ambitious challenge to fundraise for the BHF. Tommy has previously completed a 100km run in 12 hours to raise money for Children in Need. However, he believes his week of marathons will be his toughest test yet.
Finance professional, Tommy, said: “I love setting myself a crazy challenge and I like each one to be bigger and harder than the one before. I’ve run the distance of a marathon a couple of times before, but the real test is going to be the effort of doing them day after day whilst still doing my day job.
“I’ll be getting up at four in the morning so I can fit them in before work. It is a lot of miles, and a lot of things can go wrong with injuries but knowing that people are making donations really inspires me. I know I can’t give up, and I can’t let these people down.
“I intend to finish my seventh marathon opposite the Rose and Crown pub in Chorleywood at around 6pm on Friday 18th June which gives me enough time to get home to watch the England game at 8pm. Due to Covid, I haven’t hugged my dad in over a year but I certainly will be once I reach the finish and after running over 180 miles I may even treat myself to a beer.”
In the UK, there are more than 100,000 hospital admissions each year are due to heart attacks.
The BHF funds research into all heart and circulatory diseases, including heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and their risk factors, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
Sarah Cunningham, fundraising manager for the BHF, said: “I have nothing but admiration for the dedication Tommy is demonstrating with his week of marathons. When he finishes that last run it’ll be an incredible achievement.
“All the money that he is helping to raise will enable our scientists to keep looking for new ways to prevent, treat, and cure heart and circulatory disease.
“Our research has already given us machines that can restart hearts and the ability to fix arteries in tiny babies. But, despite, this progress, our work remains as urgent as ever and support like this is absolutely vital.”
People can support Tommy’s fundraising at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TommyLeigh