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Second chance for half-marathon runner

A cardiac arrest prevented Bruce Campbell from running the Auckland Half Marathon in 2013. But after life-saving heart treatment, he’s competing this year as a Heart Racer.

For Bruce Campbell, running this year’s Auckland Half Marathon is a matter of unfinished business.

He had planned to compete in 2013 in preparation for a full marathon. But in October, the then-48 year old collapsed at work from a cardiac arrest.

Thankfully, his colleagues were able to use a defibrillator to get his heart started again. Their actions saved his life – and now Bruce is helping save the lives of others by raising money for the Heart Foundation as a Heart Racer.

Bruce says specialists have no explanation for his cardiac arrest.

He had a balanced diet, exercised regularly, had regular check-ups with his doctor and had no family history of heart disease.

“As far as I knew, I was healthy. My blood pressure was a little on the high side, but not enough to warrant medication. It was totally out of the blue.”

Bruce spent four weeks recovering in hospital, including having single bypass surgery for an artery that was 70 per cent blocked.

An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (a device that uses electrical impulses to control life-threatening problems with the heart’s rhythm) was also inserted in his chest.

Two years on, he has no memory of his cardiac arrest.

“I remember emailing my wife mid-afternoon to say I had a couple of things I wanted to get finished, and I would be late home. The next memory was two days later coming out of an induced coma.”

Having his health back has encouraged Bruce to spend more time with important people in his life, including those he doesn’t get to see every day.

“It has made me make more effort to catch up with friends. I'm not originally from Auckland and most of my friends live outside of Auckland,” he says.

“I don't have a bucket list as such, but if there’s something I have been meaning to do then I’m more motivated to do it.”