Runner’s plea to raise awareness of cardiomyopathy

Tony Hampson is also highlighting the importance of greater CPR training among trail runners

Tony Hampson cardiomyopathy

by Paul Halford |

Trail runner and cardiomyopathy sufferer Tony Hampson is keen to raise awareness of the heart condition which in many cases can be hidden until it has fatal consequences.

Since his diagnosis four years ago with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a disease which leads to thickening of the heart muscle, Tony has been able to tentatively return to running.

However, he wants runners to be alert to possible signs of the genetic illness. An undiagnosed problem could lead to runners taking unnecessary risks.

He told us: "It is difficult to know how many people may have this condition, some people may not have been diagnosed but have symptoms, therefore awareness of the symptoms is so important. If there is a history of sudden or early death in your family and you have experienced symptoms such as tiredness, breathlessness, swelling in the abdomen or feet, feeling your heart beating, pain in your chest or dizziness/fainting, contact your GP. I have been told that, had I not been a runner and noticed changes, I would never have realised that I had a potentially very serious condition."

In Tony's case, it was noticing that running was becoming more difficult, together with symptoms he could easily have overlooked, that led to his seeking medical attention.

He now runs with a heart-rate monitor and uses live GPS tracking so his family know his whereabouts when he ventures on to the trails. Despite that, he still run-walks up to 30 miles per week and has completed challenges such as the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, which he did inside 12 hours, and he finished third in the Exmoor Perambulation Half (15miles).

Tony would also like to see more trail runners learning to perform CPR, given that participants in runs and races are often exercising in remote locations away from emergency locations and defibrillators.

For details on CPR, visit the British Heart Foundation. Also see Cardiomyopathy UK for more on the condition.

Trail Running will cover Tony's story and highlight the issues around CPR in a future edition of the magazine. To offer us your input on the subject, email paul.halford@bauermedia.co.uk.

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