A dad-of-three is speeding up to his first marathon after suffering a heart attack on a community run in Chorley.
Darren Nicholls’ life was saved by quick-thinking fellow runners, who used a defibrillator to kick is heart back into beating again in February last year.
The engineer from Charnock Richard is now well and truly back in his running shoes and stepping up his pace for the Manchester Marathon on Sunday.
“It will be 14 months to the day of my cardiac arrest,” said Darren.
“I mean I was dead, face down. Right the way through the line from the people at the run to the NHS nurses, consultants and doctors at Royal Preston and Blackpool Victoria Hospital, I didn’t see it all because I was unconscious but I owe them a lot.
“I want to raise awareness for Heartbeat, who did my rehab afterwards.
“I’ve also got a place in the Great North Run in September.”
Since his heart attack Darren, 49, has been determined not to allow it to hold him back. He has been busy and has taken part in three 5km runs, five 10km runs and two half marathons and his next step are the marathons.
Following the heart attack on a Chorley Council Couch to 5k run Darren was put into an induced coma for a week to lessen the chance of another cardiac arrest and went through a four-hour heart triple bypass.
But Darren, who is dad to Jodie, 15, Louise, 11 and Brandon, 14, does not remember having the heart attack at all.
He said: “My memory is quite jaded. I was in a coma for a week afterwards, and I can’t remember the run or collapsing.“I was quite lucky because they had just put a defibrillator in. Obviously the percentage of people surviving a cardiac arrest outside of a controlled environment is quite low.
“I had never run before that. My partner Gillian had suggested the Couch to 5k run programme. I had just got to week five and collapsed. The people there saved my life and I have just gone back and progressed it from there.
“I want to enjoy it and it’s important that I keep myself fit. In a roundabout way I’m trying to make the people who saved my life proud. You can’t send a box of chocolates, it’s never enough.”
Darren is also taking part in a Guinness World Record attempt. He is going to a gathering of people who have survived cardiac arrest in Essex in June.
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darren-nicholls3