Edward Eagle. Ealing Eagles. Ealing Half Marathon. It seems the stars are aligned in perfect harmony for one man's aim to complete his local 13.1 mile race, despite a congenital heart defect that has made even walking challenging at times.
Edward (60) is a proud London Borough of Ealing resident from Acton. He was inspired to take part in Ealing's half marathon on 29 September after previously volunteering. His journey started in 2016, when he first cheered on the athletes and soaked up the atmosphere. He saw everyone smiling and felt it was something that he too would love to do.
“Watching the event in 2016 and seeing runners at the back giving it their all really inspired me,” explains Edward. “I have to admit feeling a tiny bit jealous of them taking part in this wonderful community event. Their efforts turned to huge celebration at the end and really showed they had done something worthwhile. I thought if they can do it, then so can I!”
That might be a familiar story for many novice runners but having undergone two open heart surgeries and been hospitalised for a number of heart attacks you would think Edward would be entirely justified watching the race from the sidelines. But this year he wants to take part in this award-winning race and feel for himself what it’s like to cross that finish line.
Showing the determination necessary for the race itself, Edward joined his local club Ealing Eagles in 2017. He completed their Couch to 5K programme in the September and graduated in November, completing his first continuous 5K and, soon after, his first 10K. He has recently completed his 50th parkrun at Gunnersbury, with a best of 40:08 and doing things he had never thought possible.
In September 2018, Edward volunteered at Ealing Half Marathon water station and seeing the runners go by just strengthened his resolve to run the race. His role as a volunteer earned him a free place and he is now just over four months away from taking on his very own 13.1 miles.
Despite an enforced break following his latest heart procedure last month Edward is looking forward to resuming running, cheerfully stating that his body will remember what to do. “You’ve got to put a positive spin on things,” he admits. “I'm alive! If my experience can give just one person the belief that heart surgery is survivable and a full life can be lived afterwards, then I will be happy. I would have laughed out loud at anyone suggesting I run a half marathon but nothing’s impossible if you put your mind to it”.
Entries are still available for one of London's biggest and best community half marathons. The closed-road race will welcome 7,000 runners from over 25 countries to its 8th anniversary race from Lammas Park and the route includes parts of Central Ealing, Montpelier, Pitshanger, West Ealing, Hanwell and St Stephens. Visit Ealing Half Marathon website
for full details.
Images courtesy Ealing Half Marathon