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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Runner has heart attack before half marathon, still finishes fast

He had a one-track mind.

Dick Cheung, 48, was warming up for the Great Eastern Run in October when he felt ill and collapsed to the ground.

He lay passed out for 20 seconds before being helped to his feet by fellow runners.

Despite feeling dazed and confused, Cheung ran the 13.1-mile race in a stunning 1 hour, 35 minutes, and 26 seconds.

Now, Cheung says he’s “lucky to be alive” — he had suffered a heart attack before the Oct. 15 event in Peterborough, England.

“If it wasn’t for the half marathon, I don’t think I’d be here today,” he told SWNS.

Soon after finishing the race at a 7:16/mile pace, Cheung felt dizzy and went to the St John Ambulance tent for help.


Dick Cheung says he's "lucky to be alive" — he had suffered a heart attack before the Oct. 15 race in Peterborough, England.
Dick Cheung says he’s “lucky to be alive” — he had suffered a heart attack before the Oct. 15 race in Peterborough, England.

Workers administered an electrocardiogram and found he had an abnormal heart rhythm.

He was urged to go to the nearby Peterborough City Hospital.

“I felt dizzy and unwell, and I remember them telling me it was serious,” Cheung recalled.

But he just wanted to go home to Hellesdon, Norfolk. He ended up visiting the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital later that day.

“An invasive angiogram revealed I had blocked arteries and would have to have a triple bypass — it was a complete shock,” Cheung lamented.

After three weeks in the hospital, Cheung was moved to the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire but was initially unable to have the surgery because he caught COVID-19.

On Nov. 22, he underwent successful heart surgery and was discharged on Dec. 1.


Dick and his twin brother, Jack, took up running to honor the memory of their older brother, Sze-Ming, a triathlete who died in 2018.
Dick and his twin brother, Jack, took up running to honor the memory of their older brother, Sze-Ming, a triathlete who died in 2018.

“The recovery has been slow as my chest bone has to heal, but everything’s gone really well,” Cheung shared.

Monday was Cheung’s first day back at work as head chef for his family’s Chinese restaurant, Chung Hing.

“I’m looking forward to the future, and me and Jack hope to run a marathon next year — it’s given me a goal to get better,” Cheung said about his twin brother, Jack, who finished the Great Eastern Run in 1 hour, 35 minutes, and 4 seconds.

The Cheung brothers took up running to honor the memory of their older brother, Sze-Ming, a triathlete who died in 2018 after being hit by a truck while cycling. Sze-Ming, 44, had been training for an Ironman triathlon in Italy.

“We want to continue enjoying running in memory of Sze-Ming and look forward to the future with positivity,” the brothers said. “Keeping Sze-Ming’s flame alive with good health is always important to us.”

Added Dick: “You never know what’s around the corner — life is precious and enjoy it to the full.”

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