By Brenda Maguire
For Journal Register News Service
ELVERSON, PA – For many, the feat would sound impossible: run a full marathon just six months after having open-heart surgery.
But this was not the case for Elverson resident Jeff McBride, who completed the challenge on March 17 while raising $3,835 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
McBride, 27, had open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve and aorta after he was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve with severe regurgitation and stenosis, a condition which caused his heart to enlarge to the point where medical action was necessary on September 17.
Inspired by the birth of his son, McBride ran this marathon to raise money for CHOP.
Before the run McBride raised $2,335 and because he was able to finish, additional sponsors matched his original fundraising goal of $1,500, bringing him to a total of $3,835 for CHOP.
“Seeing how my original goal was $1,500 total – I’m quite happy with out it turned out,” he said via e-mail.
McBride exceeded the traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles and ran a total of 27.67 miles in 7 hours, 13 minutes. He started in Oaks, PA and ended at CHOP, 3401 Civic Center Blvd, Philadelphia, PA.
McBride said he started the first six or so miles off strong, feeling physically fit while running outside for the first time since his surgery and feeling emotionally strong because of what he was accomplishing.
“As the miles built up my lower body started to lock up completely, muscles cramps all the time and my knees felt like they were two bricks smashing into each other with ever step. I also ran out of water in my camelback when I got near Norristown and didn’t find any shop or drinkable water source until I reached Manyunk where I took a one-block detour from the trail to buy ten bottles of water from a cafe,” he recalled.
Although McBride experienced his body shutting down after mile six, he still kept going, saying it was as if his body was on auto-pilot.
He did note that there was one fun part of the run. In true Philadelphia fashion, when McBride reached the Art Museum, he ran up the iconic stairs just like Sylvester Stallone did in “Rocky”.
“I always wanted to do that but never (had),” he said.
Right before finishing the run, McBride ran right by the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, the same hospital where his surgery was performed. In fact, he even noticed the window to the room he was in just six months ago.
“I had a bit of nostalgia set in since I remember standing on the inside of the window, still having chest tubes and all in me, telling myself I would be fine, fit and healthy again and run past here one day,” McBride said.
Visit McBride’s fundraising website, Motivated Heart, to learn more about his journey at http://www.motivatedheart.com.