‘I’m very thankful that I’m alive’ - UEA lecturer’s heart stopped for two minutes at Norwich Half Marathon

Mike Brock taking part in the Norwich Half Marathon before requiring urgent medical assistance. Phot

Mike Brock taking part in the Norwich Half Marathon before requiring urgent medical assistance. Photo: Epic Action Images - Credit: Epic Action Imagery

A man whose heart stopped near the finish line of the Norwich Half Marathon has told of his 'infinite gratitude' for the team that saved his life.

Mike Brock

Mike Brock - Credit: Archant

UEA lecturer Mike Brock, 26, was running the 13.1-mile race for charity when he collapsed within sight of the finish line at the Norfolk Showground.

Quick-thinking marshalls swiftly realised how serious the situation was, and event medics performed 'vigorous' CPR to restart Mr Brock's heart.

It is understood that he was without a heartbeat for almost two minutes at Sunday's event.

The Norwich man was taken by ambulance to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and was discharged on Tuesday.

The City of Norwich Half Marathon pound around the course.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The City of Norwich Half Marathon pound around the course.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

He is now recovering well at his parents home in Gloucestershire.

It was Mr Brock's first half marathon but he had spent six months in training, completing the Run Norwich 10k and running the 13.1-mile distance a fortnight before the race in preparation.

Most Read

He said he felt fine on race day morning, when it snowed in parts of the county, and was in good shape starting the race.

But he cannot remember large parts of the route including the final hill near to Easton College, the last lap of the showground or what happened at the finish area by the cattle sheds.

His first memory after the earlier sections of the course is waking up in hospital.

And he said he quickly realised the gravity of the situation, as he was aware that a 25-year-old man died at the 2011 staging of the event.

'I was shocked and even now it seems a bit unreal,' he said. 'I'm very thankful that I'm alive.

'It sounds dramatic, but I know that a few years ago somebody died and I'm so thankful for all the work the medical staff did and my gratitude is infinite for them.

'It's really strange. I've looked at the race photos now and I don't remember any of it. I just kept going.

'I feel like I was very lucky but I'm also not just lucky.

'It's no coincidence - it's down to the people who work at the N&N and at the event.

'Without them making the decisions they did I wouldn't be here.'

Dozens of messages were posted on Facebook by runners who saw what happened and were concerned for Mr Brock's welfare.

More than 500 people liked a post on the event's page confirming that he was alive and well.

'It was really heartwarming,' said Mr Brock. 'It just shows how caring people are and that's why I wanted to publicly say thank you.'

Mr Brock moved to Norwich in 2007 as a student at the UEA then got a job as a lecturer after graduation.

'I loved the area too much and never left,' he said.

Hugh McGill, race director, said he was 'certain' that the outcome would have been different had Mr Brock not received prompt treatment.

He said 'vigorous CPR' was required, and it was fortunate that the incident happened near to the race finish where Mr Brock could swiftly receive treatment.

Mr McGill said that organisers employ private firm APMS Ambulance Services for the event, with ambulances at three key points around the course and at the start/ finish area, along with a medical trailer.

There was also a two-way radio system to reach all marshall points.

Dr Nikki Wallace-King, chief medical officer, treated Mr Brock, went with him in the ambulance and returned to the N&N above and beyond her duties to see how he was doing.

Mr McGill said of Mr Brock's collapse and recovery: 'In a way it was our worst and best moment of the weekend.'

He praised all the marshalls and medical staff who helped.

Mr Brock was originally raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support, and now plans to give half of the funds to the critical care unit at the N&N.

'I hope is that something good comes from this in the form of donations to the two fantastic causes,' he added.

To donate, see www.justgiving.com/Economics-staff/