A man from Merriott takes on a running challenge for the British Heart Foundation

A MAN from South Somerset took on an incredible running challenge after his father died suddenly from heart failure.

Carl Hedges, of Merriott, runs 52 half marathon, 52 10k and 52 5k in 52 weeks to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

It runs in memory of his father, Kevin Hedges, who was found dead by Carl’s 12-year-old son in July 2019.

Charlie, Carl’s son, reunited with his grandfather at his London home just hours before moving to Somerset to be closer to his family.

“Dad had returned to London to collect his last possessions before moving to be closer to my wife, me and our children,” Carl said.

“My son Charlie and I, who were 12 at the time, picked him up and helped him bring his last things back.

“Charlie ran upstairs to see his beloved grandfather, only to find him lifeless. I wish I could have protected my son from this image.

“It is an image that will live with us forever.

“If I could go back in time, I would never have left my father, and it’s heartbreaking that we never got to say goodbye.”

Kevin suffered from heart disease for 20 years and survived several heart attacks.

Carl’s challenge is to help him cope with his father’s passing.

By the time the challenge is over, he will have covered more miles than the distance from London to Rome.

“It’s a fantastic way to honor his memory and I think in a way I’m being proactive in responding to a situation that I had no control over,” he added.

“The process of his death was traumatic as paramedics and police were needed at his home. He also underwent an autopsy.

“I started my set of challenges in early January 2021 and my goal is to finish before Christmas this year (December 2021).

“Most of my races have been entirely solo, running in the area where I live, which gives me free space to think about my dad. Every race I do is for him.”

Chard & Ilminster News: IN MEMORY: Kevin, Carl's father

Carl chose to fundraise for the BHF so that other families don’t have to go through the same grief.

There are currently around 24,000 people living with heart and circulatory diseases in southern Somerset and one person in the region dies from these diseases every 17 hours.

The BHF funds research to help uncover breakthroughs so more lives can be saved.

So far Carl has covered 748 miles and is on track to complete the challenge before Christmas.

To sponsor Carl’s visit justgiving.com/fundraising/carl-chappelle-hedges1.

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