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Sprint for Life! Gavin McMurray

Balerno resident Gavin McMurray is involved in the fight against coronary heart disease. Founder of the Sprint for Life charity, in August he will compete in a 100-metre sprint to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation. The Chief Customer Service Officer of a successful signage company, Gavin is married to Lynn and they have two adult sons.

Gavid McMurray, Sprint for Life

We don’t tend to think that people who are eating right and exercising will be heart attack victims. Yet Gavin McMurray was cycling, working out, and getting his five a day when he suffered a serious heart attack in 2013. And there was no family history of heart disease.

Gavin had spent hours cycling the day before the attack. Then he and Lynn had hosted a big dinner party, followed by dancing. Most of Sunday was spent relaxing in the garden. At about 10 pm he went in to put Fergus, their Westie, to bed. Gavin started to feel unwell, and before long he felt pain in both arms and pressure on his chest. Somehow he made it upstairs to his bed. When he realised the pain was not going away, he called out for Lynn, who phoned for an ambulance.

Because a critical artery was completely blocked, a rapid response team was sent out with a very aggressive blood thinner that would go to work to dissolve the clot. “It was essentially a plumbing problem,” Gavin explains. Due to the serious potential side effects, Gavin had to give permission before the agent was administered. At hospital he started to feel some relief. As the clot dissolved and blood started flowing freely again, the pressure on his chest started to lift.

Six years earlier, Gavin had lost one of his best friends, Alastair Kennedy, to a heart attack. They had met at Currie High School, and both had married their high school sweetheart. Both were sprinters for Harmeny Athletics Club. Alastair was only 43 when he died from a massive heart attack. As with Gavin, undergoing a full physical had failed to reveal he was at risk.

“I want to raise £100,000 overall,” says Gavin, “in Alastair’s memory, to support research that could lead to a routine blood test that will indicate coronary heart disease.” Over the past 18 months he has trained hard for the 100-metre sprint at the UK Track and Field Masters event 25-26 August in Birmingham. “There are marathons and many other endurance events to raise funds for charity,” he comments. “But what is there for the fast guys?” In 2019 Gavin will invite other sprinters to participate, increasing the fundraising potential.

If you’re wondering, as I did, if Gavin’s cardiologist told him to cut down on the exercise regime, the answer is no. “He said I was doing all the right things, and to keep it up,” says Gavin. “In fact, if I had not been in such good condition, my outcome would have been a lot worse.”


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First published in Konect August 2018

Author: Suzanne Green

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