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Darren “Boof” Lehmann to run a marathon for the Heart Foundation
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Darren “Boof” Lehmann to run a marathon for the Heart Foundation

Media Release - 17 September 2020

Former Test cricketer and Australian Cricket Team coach, Darren “Boof” Lehmann, is in training for a sporting event of a different kind – and one that might surprise many of his cricket mates.

Darren has signed up for MyMarathon, an annual fitness and fundraising challenge run by the Heart Foundation. Over the month of October, Darren will run, walk or jog 42.2 kilometres – the distance of a marathon – while also raising funds to help fight heart disease.

This is part of what Darren describes as his “second innings” after surviving a heart attack on his 50th birthday in February this year, followed by triple-bypass surgery.

Darren is not alone in wanting to take on a marathon. In a new Heart Foundation survey of 500 Australians, 20 per cent said a marathon was on a list of things they want to do in their lifetime.

Reasons these Aussies gave for wanting to do a marathon included “good for my health and fitness” (43%); “prove that I can overcome a challenge” (37%); “the event would be fun” (32%); and “I admire people who have completed a marathon and want to be like them” (23%).

But they also said there were barriers to doing a marathon. Top obstacles included thinking their body or health couldn’t handle it (37%); lack of self-discipline (32%); having no time to train (31%); and not having the required support (14%).

More than half of the overall sample (55 per cent) said they were not at all interested in doing a marathon. However, 21 per cent of this group said they would be interested in the MyMarathon concept. This style of marathon allows people to cover the distance at their own pace and in any place. They have a whole month to complete the 42.2 kilometres, which is around 1.4 kilometres a day. The distance can be built up at any time of the day or night that is convenient for them.

That’s exactly what Darren Lehmann will be doing throughout October, just nine months after his heart attack in a Gold Coast hotel room on 5 February 2020.

“I woke up at 4.30am with cold sweats. I couldn’t breathe. It felt like someone was standing on my chest. I knew something wasn’t right,” Darren recalls. “I called the hotel doctor and he organised an ambulance. I remember texting my wife, Andrea, to tell her what was going on.”

Angiograms revealed significant blockages in three of Darren’s coronary arteries. Two days later, he had triple-bypass surgery at Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, where he now lives as coach of the Brisbane Heat cricket team.

By his own admission, Darren has not always made the best choices for his health. “Before my heart attack, I was a smoker and I ate all the wrong foods. I was a good exerciser, but still carrying too much weight,” he said. “What a wake-up call.”

After his operation, Darren quit smoking, switched to a healthier diet and continues to exercise regularly. “I didn’t realise how unhealthy I was before. Now I am feeling better, sleeping better, breathing better, food tastes better. And I’m ready to donate my second innings, not just for my own heart health, but for all Australian hearts.”

Darren is encouraging all Australians to get involved in MyMarathon and has set a personal fundraising target of $50,000.

“It will be great for your health and great for your heart, but you’ll also be raising funds for research into heart disease. Let’s get active again, Australia!” he said. “I will be walking every day in October, sometimes twice a day. I am hoping to complete a few marathons in that time.”

Heart Foundation Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, said you don’t need to be an elite athlete to conquer MyMarathon.

“MyMarathon is open to people of all fitness levels and ages. It can be done individually or as part of a team with family, friends or workmates,” he said.

“Location is no barrier either. Around 4,800 people have already registered from every state and territory across Australia, including regional and remote areas. Even Australians working in Antarctica have done MyMarathon.

“In addition to ticking ‘do a marathon’ off your bucket list, your heart will thank you for taking part. Regular physical activity helps to keep your heart strong and healthy, while also contributing to your broader physical and mental health.”

To help the Heart Foundation achieve its goal of a world where people don’t suffer or die because of heart disease, MyMarathon participants are encouraged to ask family, friends and colleagues to sponsor their efforts.

“We are really pleased about the number of people who have already signed up and started fundraising for this year’s event, but we are hoping for many more to get involved before MyMarathon officially gets underway on 1 October,” Professor Kelly said.

“We rely on the community to continue our good work. The more people who take part in MyMarathon, the more funds can be raised for the Heart Foundation’s vital work in fighting heart disease. This includes funding world-class cardiovascular research, guiding health professionals, educating Australians to make healthy choices, and supporting people living with heart conditions.”

You will find helpful resources and leaderboards at the MyMarathon web site.

MyMarathon is the trademark of the British Heart Foundation.

Media enquiries

Siobhan McMahon, Media Manager, Physical Activity
M: 0478 313 656 E: Siobhan.mcmahon@heartfoundation.org.au

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