Marathon man with a heart

Chris Taylor, 22, who will become the first person to take part in the London Marathon with a rare heart condition and a defibrillator.''Picture: Samantha Morehead
Chris Taylor, 22, who will become the first person to take part in the London Marathon with a rare heart condition and a defibrillator.''Picture: Samantha Morehead
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RUNNING a marathon is always a challenge – and one young runner is facing a bigger one than most.

When Chris Taylor takes to London’s streets in April not only will he be tackling the arduous 26-mile course, he’ll be aiming to make history as the first runner with a rare heart condition and a defibrillator to achieve the feat.

The 22-year-old, from Westby Street, Lytham, was born with a condition known as left ventricular non-compaction, and had to have the defibrillator fitted after suffering a cardiac arrest last year.

He’ll run to raise cash and awareness for the British heart Foundation, and said: “I was born with the condition and I’ve been taking beta-blockers since I was a child.

“Throughout my life my mum regulated the condition for me, but since I’ve come to university I’ve taken over that responsibility.

“Obviously since the cardiac arrest I’ve had to slow down and learn where my limits are again, but the marathon has always been a life goal.”

Mr Taylor, a third-year geography student at Staffordshire University, grew up watching his grandfather compete in the iconic race.

And although he won’t be able to run the course – his defibrillator means he will have to either jog or walk the route – he’s still hoping to defy those who said it wouldn’t be possible.

The former King Edward and Queen Mary School pupil said: “There are pictures of me as a child with my grandad’s medal around my neck and I’ve always said I wanted to do it.

“But it’s very difficult to get a place and with my condition people have said I wouldn’t be able to or I would struggle.

“I saw the positives in what happened last January and thought I would use it to my advantage, so I told the British Heart Foundation about my desire to run and they gave me a place.

“It’s a massive challenge for anyone with a defibrillator and I want to raise awareness – you may not be able to see them but there are people of different ages with heart conditions.”

Mr Taylor is aiming to raise £2,000 for the charity and is collecting online via www.justgiving.com/christaylormarathon, and will be collecting in Sainsburys, St Annes, on Saturday, March 17.