Dieffenbauch, likewise, cherishes her running
friends. She says running with friends can trans-form
an otherwise tedious, exhausting long run
into a wonderful experience.
“We make one another laugh the whole way,”
Shortly after his brush with death, Chitty dis-covered
the Cardiac Athletes, a global online com-munity
of heart patient athletic competitors.
“They are a godsend, an amazing source of
information and support,” he says.
Bolstered by his cardiologist, the Cardiac
Athletes and his local training group, Chitty has
set and met ambitious goals, including finish-ing
a marathon within a year of receiving his
“I refuse to be what we Cardiac Athletes call a
‘cardiac cripple,’” he says.
“I thought my first 5K would kill me,” Maltby
says. “But I loved it and from that day on, run-ning
became a major part of my life, teaching
me perseverance, determination and commit-ment.
It has given me confidence and shown me
that I am capable of far more
than I ever previously believed.”
Chitty says there is nothing
he takes for granted anymore.
“Having been so close to it,
I’m no longer scared of death,
but it’s made me want to
squeeze the juice out of every
day, then eat the rind. I want to
live life as it’s meant to be lived.
Anyone can. It all comes down
to attitude. Amidst life’s circum-stances,
that’s the only thing you
can truly control, and if you can
do that then you’ve embarked
on an amazing journey.”
The marathon is a literal and
figurative journey. It is not a
journey for the faint of heart,
but it is a journey possible for
anyone with the right mix of
inspiration, determination, dis-cipline,
and supportive friends
and loved ones. It is a lifelong journey that can
begin at any point in life, and it begins with one
single step. Copeland Perkins training in Hugh MacRae Park.
Writer Mary Margaret McEachern is an athlete who has been running since the age of eleven and before injury
was an Olympic hopeful. The four medals on these pages are among the many medals and trophies she has won.
Perkins runs a scorching
pace to qualify for the
Olympic Marathon Trials
at the 2019 Houston