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Keen runner thanks volunteers after suffering a stroke during parkrun

PUBLISHED: 07:31 29 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:06 29 July 2018

Dave Thomas, a member of Norwich Road Runners, who suffered a minor stroke during Catton parkrun in Norwich, while at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DAVE THOMAS

Dave Thomas, a member of Norwich Road Runners, who suffered a minor stroke during Catton parkrun in Norwich, while at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DAVE THOMAS

DAVE THOMAS

A fit and healthy runner has thanked volunteers who helped him after suffering a stroke mid-run.

Runner Dave Thomas, 35, from Norwich, who suffered a minor stroke during Catton parkrun in Norwich. He has thanked parkrun volunteers, runners and medical staff who helped him. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIERunner Dave Thomas, 35, from Norwich, who suffered a minor stroke during Catton parkrun in Norwich. He has thanked parkrun volunteers, runners and medical staff who helped him. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

Dave Thomas, 35, from Dereham Road in Norwich, collapsed at the halfway mark of the 5K Catton parkrun course in the city while in the leading pack.

Volunteers, who helped support the free weekly timed event, and other runners, rushed to help Mr Thomas.

He was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) minutes after his stroke and was discharged two days later.

Mr Thomas said: “I cannot say thank you enough to the people who stopped to help me. The volunteer team was there like a shot.

“I have had so many messages of support which has been very humbling.”

He also praised the work of paramedics and hospital staff.

“Everyone saw me really quickly. I was given scans and received treatment within two hours. I’m proud to have the NNUH as my local hospital.”

The 35-year-old, an accountancy firm manager, said his stroke was minor but the incident has made him “take stock”.

Mr Thomas, who joined Norwich Road Runners club last year, added: “Like everyone, I considered myself invincible. I always thought, ‘You don’t have a stroke at 35.’”

Doctors believed his stroke was caused by a small blood clot.

His speech was not affected but he does have to take long-term medication.

Recalling the experience, Mr Thomas, who has run Catton parkrun about 12 times, said: “It was a hot day but I have run in the heat before. At the halfway mark at just over nine minutes I felt OK.

“I remember the energy leaving me, feeling dizzy and hitting the floor. My left arm was unresponsive.”

He added there was one moment he feared he would not be able to run again during hospital tests.

“If I was told I could not run I would have been heartbroken. Running gives me a buzz. It is addictive and helps clear my mind,” said Mr Thomas, who was diagnosed with clinical depression this year.

He is keen to get back into running but during his recovery period he has been inspired to volunteer at future parkruns.

Mr Thomas added the experience has taught him the strength of Norfolk’s running community.

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