John bounces back from heart attacks

A 44-year-old roofer is donning his trainers to take part in Sunday's Subway Helping Hearts Family 5k fun run in Holyrood Park to raise heart-health awareness after surviving two heart attacks.

Thursday, 22nd September 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:00 pm
Livingston roofer John McCabe has been in training for a series of endurance events

John McCabe, from Livingston, had a heart attack ten years ago after suffering chest pain and was put on medication. A year-and-a-half later he suffered a second heart attack, resulting in John having a stent fitted to relieve blockages to his heart.

His heart problems were caused by having thick blood which was causing blockages. John recently suffered two minor strokes caused from debris breaking off his arteries, yet he has recovered to continue his running events. John has dramatically changed his lifestyle and started training for a number of endurance events in recent months.

“After my heart attack I was given tablets and everything seemed fine, but a year-and-a-half later the chest pains returned and I ended up being in hospital having a stent operation,” said John.

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“They discovered that my blood is very thick and they believe this has caused the problems.”

John was generally fit through his roofing job, which means he has to “run up and down ladders”. He stopped smoking after his health scares.

“It just shows my heart is quite strong,” said John. “It could have ended up being a lot more serious, but I decided I was not just going to sit around and wait for something else to happen and I am going to enjoy these running events.”

The 5K series connection with Heart Research UK was important to John and his family.

With the series in its fourth year, the Edinburgh event will be the last of nine in the Helping Hearts events which have taken place across the UK from May to September. This year’s event features a giant inflatable course designed to appeal to kids and adults inspired by the Subway menu for the final 500m. For those out for a fast time, or feeling less adventurous, there’s still the choice of the traditional route.

Everyone who takes part will receive a free T-Shirt, a free Subway lunch, a finisher’s medal and access to the Family Village. Children under 12 go free and it’s then just £7 per person for the rest of the family when they register online. Go to for race information and to register. There will also be a limited number of places available for families to come along and register on the day, priced at £9 for adults, with under-12s still free.