It’s about 230 miles from Petersfield to Manchester, and another 26.2 if you include the length of the marathon that Ryan Tindall will take on this Sunday (April 14).

But the 43-year-old won’t be counting, as his journey from East Hampshire to the start line in the North West can’t be measured in miles or minutes.

The Manchester Marathon is a walk in the park compared what the talent acquisition director from Petersfield has experienced over the last 13 years. He woke on a warm night in July 2011 to a surreal and terrifying scene, scared for his life and lying in an ambulance with his wife and paramedics watching over.

The severe seizure Ryan suffered in his sleep would lead to a diagnosis of epilepsy – a brain condition which he knew nothing about at the time – and nearly a decade of struggle with severe depression.

“I did everything in my power to ignore the diagnosis, laugh it off, and try to prove that I wasn’t less of a ‘man’,” said Mr Tindall.

“You go from being ‘healthy’ to being disabled and dependent on others. Anxiety levels creep up due to the risk that a seizure will strike, and you fear that people see you as less of a person.

“Because of this, I lost myself. I started drinking heavily, working longer hours, and pushing everyone close to me away.

“This depression would almost lead to the end of my marriage, as well as my friendships and to me contemplating suicide. I was only saved by having my young daughter.”

Ryan began looking into brain surgery in 2020 after medication failed to control his symptoms. But the positive effects of healthy lifestyle choices were revelatory, and he discovered a fresh purpose after taking up running and a ketogenic diet with his family’s support.

Ryan found an outlet for his emotions and the sense of pride he felt after completing his first 5k run proved anything was possible. It wasn’t long before he was competing in bigger challenges, eventually completing six marathons and three ultra-marathons.

Remarkably, during one marathon, Ryan suffered a temporal lobe seizure at mile 14, but he powered through to finish the challenge, coming close to achieving a personal best time of under four hours.

Ryan’s next major ‘bucket list’ event is the fast, flat and friendly Manchester Marathon, which he will attempt on behalf of the Epilepsy Society. He’s already raised more than £6,000 for the good cause, and is determined to add more from his latest run.

He said: “I can’t wait to get my Epilepsy Society vest on and run for #TeamPurple in the Manchester.

“I want to achieve a time of 3 hours 45 minutes. I am lucky: not everyone with epilepsy can do what I do, so I am doing this to raise awareness for all of us with epilepsy.”

 

Source: altonherald.com, Paul Ferguson

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