A former heart patient who owes his life to doctors is setting out on a gruelling challenge this weekend, The London Triathlon.
Ben Richards (36), from Moulton Chapel, will swim 1500m, cycle 40k and run 10k to raise money for the charity, KeeptheBeat, which helps fund The East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield Hospital, in Leicester, where he had his own life-saving treatment.
Ben said: “They were brilliant and, basically, without them I wouldn’t be here today. I want to raise money for them to say thank you and also to give something back as well.”
Ben did his first ever ‘tri’ in 2006 but his sporting dreams – including his ambition to become a gym instructor – looked like they were gone for ever in 2010 when he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that makes the heart beat abnormally fast.
He ended up in A&E after failing to recover properly from a training session.
Ben said: “My heart rate shot up to 210 beats a minute and I felt really ill.”
At rest, the normal heart rate for adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Following surgery and convalescence, Ben was able to resume his sporting life and has done several triathlons in the last three years.
Two years ago he came third in his age group in a triathlon organised by Spalding Triathlon Club.
He aims to complete his events on Sunday in 2hrs 22m to 2hrs 25m.
“I know I’ll do it,” said Ben. “I am really excited because it’s a huge triathlon. It will be like when I did the London Marathon a long time back – I am sure the atmosphere will be absolutely electric.”
Ben works as a domestic assistant at Hovenden House while training as a gym instructor. He’s married to Victoria and they have a son Luke, who is almost six-years-old.
• KeepTheBeat serves young patients with heart defects and their families in seven counties, including Lincolnshire.
Ben has put out sponsorship forms to raise as much as he can for the charity. You can add to Ben’s total by calling him on 01406 380648.