The On 6am Club is about normal people with busy lives achieving some amazing things through early-morning runs. Each person has their own reason for running at the crack of dawn – busy family life, high pressured jobs – but the 6am Club is their common ground. Some of these runners will be sharing their stories, starting with Kevin who recently received some shocking news. He had a hole in his heart…
“I found out about the heart defect in October and had surgery in February. I was in theatre for five hours, where they closed three holes completely and reduced the size of the main hole.”
A keen runner, Kevin was eager to get back to training but had to take things a little easier in the beginning. “I didn’t run for eight to 10 weeks and started back very slowly under the guidance of my coach, Richard Partridge and doctors. I did get a little carried away at first when I returned to running and during a 6am run, had a ‘funny’ turn where I had to stop a few minutes into the run and headed back home.
“Kojo (one of the 6am ON ambassadors) made me go to A and E to get checked out (he’s a cardiac physiology manager and has been amazing during the whole process), where they did some blood tests and found a protein which showed I had over done it with the running and that I had also not allowed the heart enough time to recover from the surgery. I then took another six weeks off until the doctors gave me the all clear to continue back to normal with training and racing.”
After taking the time to recover fully, Kevin is back to fighting fit. “I feel great. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is, I’m able to recover much quicker. It was suggested I was losing about four per cent of oxygen with every heart beat, which obviously I was never aware of and I seem to be running better and quicker than before.
“Two weeks ago I won the first race of the Division One Surrey League Cross Cross Country, a race I’ve been trying to win for 20 years, where the standard is pretty strong and I also finished 12th in the Great South Run 10-miler in Portsmouth this year with a PB of 50.23… This is all eight months after I had heart surgery, hopefully things continue to move in the right direction and I can reduce my marathon PB at London next year!”
Kevin’s determination has helped him to recover – but the 6am Club haven been on hand to offer him support. “There has been a bit of debate on who the founder of the 6AM Club is, but for the past two years I have been running with Scott Overall (London Olympian) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. this works for me as it means I can sneak out the door before my children wake up.
“I recently discovered On and I absolutely love wearing and running in the Cloudsurfer, it’s such a responsive, comfortable, great fitting trainer, which also makes running in the dark, freezing cold weather at 6am that little bit more easier.”
“As anyone will know, the hardest thing with running is finding the motivation to put on your running trainers and taking them first few strides out the door. Over the past two years, more and more people have joined the group and we now occasionally have double figures running in the morning, all of similar abilities. We’ve all helped and brought one another along and the group were super supportive during the past year and encouraging when I was trying to get back into it after surgery I guess it’s like having a family away from my family.”
For more tips from Kevin, check out his column on p13 of the December issue of Women’s Running.