Lucy Chan

A couple of years ago I received a phone call with news that my aunt was in hospital having suffered from a heart attack. My first response was shock. My aunt? The lady who eats her five a day without fail, has never smoked, is not overweight, and swears by a healthy lifestyle? The worse thing was that she didn’t see it coming, she just felt faint one day and had a spell of indigestion. It was just lucky that her son (who happened to be a cardiothoracic surgeon) told her to go straight to the hospital because he knew that heart attacks in women can give much more subtle symptoms i.e. no chest pain. But the one thing they said was a potential factor could have been that she didn’t exercise.

Thankfully my aunt survived, but the event spurred me on to kick-start a healthy and active lifestyle for myself. Learning to run was a frustrating process (I started off not being able to run for more than 30 seconds...) but immensely satisfying (that runner’s ‘high’ is, in my eyes, unbeatable!) Soon enough I was running three times a week and ready to take on a charity run. 

So signing up for the British Heart Foundation 10k in Hyde Park seemed rather apt because it was the type of pioneering research this wonderful organisation helps to fund that saved my aunt’s life! 

On race day, Hyde Park created the perfect backdrop for the 10k. There were plenty of supporters, friendly marshals, and enthusiastic dog-walkers.The BHF made good use of the bandstand, with a thoroughly exuberant DJ in the center who did a great job in keeping everyone’s spirits high. I love charity runs – there’s always a welcoming atmosphere which attracts a lot of families and their adorable kids (many of whom completed the 1k fun run, too cute!)

I enjoyed having a wander and listened to a teenage volunteer who described his experience of having a heart problem which was thankfully treated and now he is as healthy as ever. Humbling stuff.

Once we started the run and I found my pace, I could really enjoy the beauty that is Hyde Park! It really is such a picturesque location with exquisite fountains and gardens, and despite the adrenaline I full heartedly soaked up the surroundings. The marshals were enthusiastic and the other runners themselves were great and many words of encouragement were passed amongst each other. I felt like I was running in a cloud of positivity, and soon enough I crossed the finish line in just over an hour. It was an unforgettable day, not just for the running, but also in honor of all those affected by heart disease.

The BHF Hyde Park Run takes place on Saturday 4 October. For more information or to register go to