Marathon man Mark races towards £100,000 target for Heart Attack Centre lift

11 December 2018

Marathon man Mark races towards £100,000 target for Heart Attack Centre lift
A dedicated fundraiser has completed one of the world’s toughest marathons – one year to the day after suffering a life-threatening heart attack.

Mark Davies crossed the finish line at the Athens Marathon exactly 12 months after he was saved by NHS staff at Hammersmith Hospital.

The former sports writer and radio producer is fast approaching his fundraising target of £100,000, which will go towards a new and improved lift to speed up emergency access to the hospital’s Heart Attack Centre (HAC).

Mark was inspired to take on the 26.2-mile challenge following his dramatic ordeal last year. After collapsing at home completely out of the blue, he was rushed to Hammersmith where he underwent emergency surgery at the HAC.

The centre is one of eight specialist units in London that provides 24-hour emergency care for anyone suspected of having a heart attack. With the speed of treatment critical, the hospital is installing a new, faster and more reliable lift.

Mark has already raised more than £97,000 to help cover the cost of the lift and is nearing his six-figure goal.

Recalling the day of his heart attack last year, Mark said: “Had the lady who answered the phone not immediately diagnosed what had happened; had there been more traffic; had I not been at home, on the street, in a plane or further from a hospital – it would have been curtains.

“And even if I had survived, without a lot of quick thinking from a lot of people, I might have done so with a fraction of the brain function that I had before it happened. I count myself extraordinarily lucky to be here. Every day is a bonus!”

He added: “The staff at the hospital were fantastic, they were all so good from the minute I arrived. They were an absolutely top team and were very kind in the time that I was there. So I really wanted to do something to help.

“People have also been very generous in supporting me personally after what happened last year and this has really helped with raising the money.”

Mark’s gruelling marathon took place in Athens, Greece, on Sunday 11 November. Known as ‘The Authentic’, the course is recognised as one of the world’s toughest, with long up-hill sections.

A keen athlete, Mark had done most of his training on a rowing machine after easing himself back into running following his heart attack and completed the race in four hours and 50 minutes.

Mark added: “It’s basically like running up the M1. It’s a straight road that goes up-hill for mile upon mile. It’s absolutely brutal.

“I did a lot of my training on a rowing machine, which was fine from a fitness perspective, but it did mean my legs weren’t used to pounding out mile after mile. It was quite painful on the day.”

Work is already under way at the Heart Attack Centre and the new lift is due to be installed by April 2019.

To support Mark’s fundraising, click here.