From heart attack to health buff
MAL Wilson was a self-confessed ‘slob’ before turning his life around and that of others, now he hopes to do the same in the community he now calls home.
The 66 year- old has recently moved from Brisbane to Myrtleford and hopes to inspire others with his story of how poor health almost cut his life short at age 42 before later running marathons.
Mr Wilson had coronary artery bypass surgery in 1994 and was told if he did not change his ways he would be dead within five years.
He said he had no problem eating a bucket of KFC or an early morning meat pie and pastie before suffering the heart attack that very nearly ended his life.
“My old life, I threw it down the drain,” he recalled.
“We would never put dirty fuel in our car but into our body for some reason it’s different.
“They cut me wide open and this man (the surgeon) had my heart in his hands.”
Weeks later, a chance meeting with that very surgeon who gave Mr Wilson a second chance at life put the wheels in motion for a new passion - running.
“He bought me a pair of shorts and a shirt and said, ‘here, hop on the treadmill’,” Mr Wilson said.
“That was it, I never looked back and became obsessed.”
Mr Wilson went on to run 14 marathons all over Australia, in times that consistently stayed just under the four-hour mark.
He believes it was sheer dedication, hard work, positive thinking and a good diet that transformed him.
“After the surgery, you think when is this going to happen again,” he said.
“For the first six months you just think you’re going to die, drop dead at any moment.
“But now the way I have looked after myself they say it will be something else that kills me.”
Mr Wilson hopes that his story will help others to turn their life around.
The former Brisbane man is now retired and hopes to give back to his new community by offering free running classes. “I love it here,” he said. “(I love) the people, the mountains, the climate and the streams.
“My sister took me to Mt Buf- falo when I was a kid and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been.
“I have visited nearly every year since I was nine years old, just to see that mountain.”
While Mr Wilson’s marathon running days may be over, he hopes to climb his favourite mountain soon.
“I am going to tape my knees up and run from one side to the other,” he said.
Mr Wilson offers training for individuals and groups and can be contacted on 0417 787 748.
BY TATE SPITERI