It is almost 11 years to the day that Robert Sacco’s life changed irrevocably.
Robert was showering on 10 October 2007 when he felt a piercing pain in his chest.
At first he thought it was muscular strain from an exercise session earlier that morning, but as the pain intensified, Robert realised something was frighteningly wrong.
“I came rushing out of the shower calling for my family’s help, but it was school holidays and they were all asleep,” Robert recalls. “I continued to shout, and my wife came in to find me collapsed on the floor, naked and wet.”
Robert was having a heart attack. His wife called Triple Zero.
Doctors diagnosed a blocked artery and inserted a stent to open it up. Robert stayed in hospital for four weeks, followed by cardiac rehabilitation to help him get back to a normal life.
Now 52, Robert is the fittest he has ever been. The father of three is committed to a healthy lifestyle, including a nutritious diet and regular physical activity.
Robert is also keen to spread the word about heart health, which is why he has encouraged staff members at his business, Waves Carwash, to sign up as a team for MyMarathon 2018.
MyMarathon allows participants to conquer a marathon at their own pace and in any place, while also raising money to fight heart disease.
Participants have the entire month of October 2018 to run, jog, walk or wheel the distance of a marathon (42.2 kilometres), which equates to around 1.4 kilometres a day. The distance can be built up at any time of the day or night that is convenient to them.
The event is open to people of all fitness levels and ages. It can be done in just about any location, and can be completed individually or as part of a team – as 10 Waves Carwash staff will do.
“MyMarathon is a great team-building exercise for us, but it will also boost our fitness and help raise awareness about heart disease and the work of the Heart Foundation,” Robert said.
“We should never neglect our hearts, as we only have one,” he said.
Heart Foundation ACT Chief Executive Tony Stubbs said you don’t need to be an elite athlete or even a particularly active person to conquer MyMarathon.
“The beauty of this event is that just about anyone can get involved, no matter what your age, location, background or fitness level. You decide the pace, you decide the place,” Mr Stubbs said.
“You can do it in four hours, four days or four weeks; you can walk, run, jog or shuffle; you can do it anywhere you like – it’s a very flexible way to complete a marathon,” he said.
“In addition to ticking ‘marathon’ off your bucket list, your heart will thank you for taking part. Regular physical activity helps to keep your heart strong and healthy.
“It’s important to look after your heart, because heart disease remains the single leading cause of death in Australia. On average, one Australian dies as a result of heart disease every 30 minutes.”
MyMarathon participants are encouraged to ask family, friends and colleagues to sponsor them.
“We are really grateful about the number of people who are fundraising for us in this year’s event. Although MyMarathon is officially underway, it’s not too late to join and we hope many more Canberra residents will jump on board,” Mr Stubbs said.
“The more people who participate, the more funds can be raised for the Heart Foundation’s vital work in fighting heart disease.”
You will find helpful resources, along with everything you need to know about registering, participating and fundraising, at the MyMarathon web site.