A MAN who had a near death experience which saw his stomach end up in his lungs says running has given him a new lease of life.
Mark Bailey was driving along the M6 on his way home when his car was hit by a lorry, forcing it to spin across three lanes and hit the central reservation.
After being rushed to A&E he had to be resuscitated, and scans showed he had a a ruptured diaphragm, with the impact of the crash pushing his stomach through to his left lung.
While the accident took place in December 2017, the pig farmer from Stratford had to wait until April until he could be operated on due to the trauma of his injuries.
The dad-of-one underwent a ten-hour operation to put his organs back in their rightful place, but while on the table suffered two cardiac arrests and a third in recovery.
And while the operation was successful the 45-year-old has since suffered a further blow and was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year.
Mark said: “On impact of the crash my insides carried on moving and my stomach went through the diaphragm and into my left lung. I lost 25 per cent lung capacity.”
In a bid to aid his recovery, Mark was encouraged to exercise and a nurse recommended he join the ‘couch to 5k’ programme. He joined the sessions run by Stratford Athletics Club.
And less than a year after his surgery he completed his first Stratford parkrun around the Recreation Ground, completing the track in just over 30 minutes.
He said: “Finally I feel like things are on the up. It has not only helped me physically, but mentally I am in such a better place too. I have also lost a lot of weight in the two months I have been doing it.
“All of the instructors’ enthusiasm is infectious and makes you want to succeed. Happily, I have.”
The free sessions help people with no running experience to complete a 5km park run within nine weeks.
The next programme begins on Monday (May 13) at 6.45pm. The group will initially meet at the Stratford High School running track on Alcester Road.
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