Headsweats is proud to sponsor Ironheart Racing, a group whose mission is to support cardiac charities worldwide by raising awareness and funds via their active lifestyles. The goal of the Ironheart Group is to inspire others and motivate individuals, organizations and communities to live a heart healthy life.
Facts about Cardiovascular Disease
o 80 million Americans have cardiovascular disease – that’s 1 out of 3 adults
o It is the #1 killer in women- with estimates of over 400,000 deaths per year
o It is the#1 killer in men- claiming more than 600,000 lives per year
David Watkins, founder of Ironheart Racing Team, tells how Ironheart Racing came about.
Ironheart Racing started out as a mission to complete Ironman after undergoing open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve in 2005. The goal was to teach my children that no matter the circumstances, no matter what others may say, “if you believe in yourself, work hard and stay focused, you can accomplish amazing things.”
Surgery for me was a 17 hour day which included two trips to the operating table. After the 1st attempt, my heart stopped functioning and was without a beat for 5 minutes. While my surgeon manually opened me up and began massaging my heart, he asked for my family to come in and say any ‘last words’ before I was brought back to the OR. “Fight, be strong… we love you,” was what they said.
I recovered, only to have a stroke a month later which left me temporarily without vision in my left eye. 6 months later, I ran a very slow half marathon. 7 months after that, I found myself at the starting line of Ironman Coeur d’alene. I was the last one to finish that day, but it took me over the 17 hour cutoff time.
We now have elite and beginner athletes racers from across the globe. As of December 2011, we had over 200 athletes represented in 43 states and 6 countries. Many have gone through similar cardiac issues/surgeries and use endurance sports as a way to stay healthy and inspire others. Some have simply joined to help spread awareness of congenital heart disease and healthy heart living through exercise and competition.
Are you up for the Ironheart challenge? Learn more about Ironheart racing here.