A NEWBURY man who suffered a near-fatal heart attack in last year’s Bayer 10k race has has vowed to compete again this Sunday.
Russell Barrett was just yards from the finish line when he collapsed with a massive heart attack.
A friend and fellow runner, off duty Newbury officer Pc Keiran Baker, said:“Russell wasn’t breathing. He had no pulse and was clinically dead.”
Pc Baker gave chest compressions until ambulance staff shocked his heart back into action with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
The officer added: “I knew that in situations like that the first few minutes are absolutely vital. I did several rounds of CPR until we couldget the AED to him.”
With only a two per cent survival rate in the UK among all people suffering a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a healthcare environment, a nearby AED can prove to be a life-saver.
Once stable Mr Barrett was airlifted by the Thames Valley Air Ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital’s cardiac critical care unit in Oxford.
He said: “Quite simply, without Keiren and the AED I wouldn’t have made it off the tarmac, and without the air ambulance I wouldn’t have made it to the cardiac unit.”
Mr Barret, aged 47, is running this year’s Bayer 10k to raise awareness and funds for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance Trust and is expected to have raised more than £2,000 in sponsorship.
The IT consultant took up running in 2013 “to get fit” and had been a regular attendee at the weekly Saturday morning Parkrun on Greenham Common, before taking up the challenge of the greater distance in May 2014.
He recalled: “It was a glorious, sunny day. A large group of my friends was also running the same event, sothe mood at the start was very buoyant. We waved each other goodbye, and planned to meet up at the finish line. It was a great day to run.”
But with a personal best time within reach, his friends cheering him on, and only a few metres to go, Russell collapsed on the course within sight of the finish line.
Fellow runner Chris Rands said: “There was a lot of confusion - nobody was even sure if he had tripped - we were expecting him to dust himself off, get up and just finish the race.”
But a blood clot had caused a heart attack and Mr Barrett said he subsequently had no recollection of the race, his collapse, or arrival in hospital.
A stent was put inside his chest and a regime of blood thinning drugs did the rest.
Two weeks later he was discharged. He said: “The doctors said it was like mending a puncture. They fixed it and I’m good to go. Obviously I’ve taken advice from medical professionals but I’m told that, because of the stent and the drugs I’m probably at less risk now than most other runners. And as far as my memory is concerned, this will be the first time I’ve done the Bayer 10k.”
Mr Barrett will be accompanied on the route by his friend Ellie Selby and girlfriend Laura Mackay. You will recognise him by his bright yellow tee shirt featuring the grim reaper and the words: “I’m dying to finish this race.”
Meanwhile if you would like to donate towards the cause, visit https://www.justgiving .com/Russell-Barrett6