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73-year-old heart attack survivor returns to Chirk Triathlon to marshal race

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Tuesday, Apr 24th, 2018.

A local man who suffered a heart attack while taking part in a triathlon returned to help in the marshalling of this year’s competition.

George Jones, 73 from Glyn Ceiriog, suffered a cardiac arrest when taking part in the cycling leg of the Chirk Triathlon in 2016.

He took part in the triathlon as part of a relay with two friends, with him taking the cycling leg of the competition while his co-competitors filled in for swimming and running.

Unfortunately, he suffered a cardiac arrest during the race while cycling on Church St, and was cared for by volunteers with St John Ambulance and race marshals.

George was then flown to Royal Stoke University Hospital, Staffordshire, by the Wales Air Ambulance and later recovered.

As part of his recovery, he undertook a 10-week exercise programme, part of which was designed by staff at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, and he regularly trained at Chirk Leisure and Activity Centre.

Since then George has remained a keen user of the centre, and returned to marshal this year’s Chirk Triathlon, which took place on Sunday, April 15.

Commenting on his triathlon experience, George said: “It went very well – I was marshalling from noon until the end. And I was very impressed with those taking part.

“It’s nice when riders who are really doing their best thank the marshals as they ride past – there’s no need for them to do that.

“I’d like to have been taking part in it myself, but my days of doing it are finished.

“I’ve always been a keen cyclist, but I didn’t like the running part – swimming was alright, but I’ve always found running awful.

“In the three years before my heart attack, I’d been a member of a relay team taking part in the triathlon – and the combined age of the team was over 200!”

He recently took a break from training due to a bout of pneumonia – but was back in the centre on Monday, less than a week before taking part in the marshalling.

It was the first time he had returned to the gym since improvement works were carried out at all Freedom Leisure-run leisure and activity centres in Wrexham last year.

He said: “I decided to take a break as I’ve just got over pneumonia, but I was back in on Monday and I was delighted with the facilities there – especially being able to monitor my pulse.

“They can see what’s going on with my heart, and that’s a very good thing. They can see if I’m overdoing it, but also there might be exercises where I could be doing a bit more.”

He added: “I’m 73 now, and I was hoping to be active into my eighties – I suppose I still will be, but not quite as fast as I’d hoped.”

Cllr Andrew Atkinson, Lead Member for Youth Services and Anti-Poverty, with responsibility for Leisure, said: “Mr Jones’ enthusiasm and continued keenness to train at the Chirk Leisure and Activity Centre is admirable, and I’m glad that the weather behaved not just for him and his fellow marshals, but all those taking part in this year’s Chirk Triathlon.”

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