Parkrun success for Luton schoolboy with heart condition

Jack Travers
Jack Travers

A schoolboy from Luton with a heart condition completed his second parkrun to inspire others to take part.

Jack Travers ran with three other children, all with heart conditions, at the Beehive junior parkrun in Welwyn Garden City and he completed the 2km course in 20 seconds less than on his first run.

As a baby, Jack was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta and he underwent an operation.

By taking part in parkrun Jack is not only showing what children with heart conditions can achieve but will be improving his cardiovascular health which will improve his overall fitness and reducing the risk of his developing cardiovascular disease in later life.

The event also marked the production of the document Guidelines for children with heart conditions participating in parkrun which has been drawn up by the Children’s Heart Federation in conjunction with parkrun. It explains how parkrun works, how it could benefit a child with a heart condition and their family and gives guidance on what to do should a child feel unwell or tired.

Stuart Ainsworth, Outreach Ambassador (Heart Conditions) (Volunteer) parkrun UK, said: “parkrun is ideal for children with heart conditions because it isn’t a race, children can go at their own pace, jog or walk and can take a break if tired or breathless. As some children with heart conditions need to avoid contact sports, parkrun is a good way for them to exercise safely.

“I am delighted that we have several children with heart conditions running today with or without their families. They are showing how children with heart conditions can benefit and achieve through exercise.”

This initiative is part of Project PROVE which is looking to make parkrun events accessible and welcoming to those with disabilities and long-term conditions.

Supporting Project PROVE is CHF trustee Paul Willgoss, a keen marathon runner Paul was born with a complex heart condition.