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July 2004

Mal Wilson's motivations

Mal at the finish line after competing in a Trialthalon.

By Mal Wilson.

My name is Mal Wilson, I have a story like everyone else, but my story continues and hopefully will motivate, and maybe save a few lives.

Ten years ago, my life style was one that was heading down the path of destruction. At forty-two years of age, I was a person that smoked, drank, and was overweight, stressed and never believed in exercise. Then early one Thursday morning in November 1993 it all came to a sudden end in the way of a heart attack. This was to be followed up six months later with a quadruple bypass. In that six months leading up to my operation my life was in the hands of God.

After my operation, scarred and sore, I was about to take up the biggest change of my life. One afternoon, standing in a gym in the City I watched a man workout on a running machine. All of a sudden I realized that the man was my heart surgeon. After a chat he asked me to have a run on the treadmill. So with great trepidation I decided to give it a go. I had been doing a lot of walking as exercise after my heart attack and this was a further stepping stone. After twenty minutes of running and hardly any puffing I knew that this was to be the start of two friendships - one with my surgeon Mark O'Brien, and one with the road.

Mark then introduced me into the Queensland Marathon and Road Running Club. So with no more than a shuffle that I had been doing for a couple of months and for no longer distance than one kilometer, I decided to enter a five-kilometer race. This took me beyond anything physical I had done in my whole life and all the time not knowing if my heart was going to over charge. Well it didn't, and I finished in twenty-five minutes (not ready for the Olympics yet!).

Ten years down the track with the right diet, lots of training and lots of love and support from my wife and two sons, I am now a marathon runner.

Along the way I met someone who was to have an impact on my life once again. This was Robert de Castella. I asked Deek if he ever was in Brisbane could he find the time to run with me. A few months later I found myself doing a ten-kilometer run with the legend, and to this day our friendship has continued. I look forward to seeing Deek at the marathons as much as I like to run them. My surgeon also competes in just about every marathon I run, and I am so proud to show him just what he has done for me.

I am a volunteer with the heart support group at Prince Charles Hospital and spend a lot of spare time at the hospital talking with heart patients. I like to give back to the hospital and staff as much as I can for it's these people who are the unsung heroes.

Before my heart attack I was ninety-six kilograms. I am now seventy-one kilograms and have a resting heart rate of forty-one. Before my heart attack it was up in the eighties.

I train a minimum of six kilometers and a maximum of thirty kilometers a day, and my best times in running are:

Clipart of a runner and a heart.

I have won:

I fulfilled one of my dreams by running to the top of Mt Kosciusko and back just two days after the Canberra Marathon and all these runs I must say are done without a stop.

I have run the one hundred-kilometer running leg of the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon in Canberra in eleven hours. The Sydney Olympic Course Marathon in three hours sixteen minutes and the Gold Coast Marathon in three hours fourteen minutes, all in the space of seven months.

My last run was the Gold Coast Marathon in a time of three hours, twenty-three minutes. In a field of 1,900 runners I came 312 overall and 23rd in my age group. This past year I have won gold medals in every one of my club championships for age, to become club champion for the last two years in a row in my age group.

I now belong to a gymnasium where the staff are building my body up and putting me through exercises that my body has never known. I work my heart rate between 140 and 150 for an hour and then muscle building for another hour and my fitness level is the highest it has ever been and still my resting heart rate is 40 a minute.

I recently had an angiogram just to satisfy myself that my arteries were not blocking up again. My cardiologist said that the way I'm going with diet and exercise that I won't need another until I am well into my eighties. My grafts were as clear as the day they put them in.

I have just come off a six month break from competitive racing and entered an 8km race in which I ran in 32minutes and came first in my age group. So the six month weight building and cardio workout in the Gym has enabled me to keep up my good times and added a lot more strength to my running.

I am now back into competitive running with one of the hardest 25km mountain races in the country in four weeks time, and then trying to beat my personal best which is one hour twenty-seven minutes, in the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July.

Since Christmas I have lost three mates at the age of 51, 61 and 25 respectively. All have died of self-induced heart attacks.

I run for two reasons, firstly so that I may lead a long and healthy life and secondly in the hope that I may encourage someone else to do the same thing and save a life.

This story can be told to all ages because it affects all ages and heart disease is one of the biggest killers in Australia today. There is too much emphases put on all these fancy diets today when all that is needed is a low fat diet and regular exercise and for parents to guide their children from a young age on the habits of a healthy lifestyle.

Enjoying a game of Golf.

Motivational speaking

I am a motivational speaker. It is from the heart and with great passion that I speak, to motivate people from all walks of life. I talk about diet, exercise and a healthy heart. I encourage self worth and self esteem, and make people realize that everyone has the potential to become anything that they want to be.

The Brisbane City Council has engaged my services to deliver motivational talks to the staff. The aim of my talks with the Council is to reduce sick days within the work place. My seminars encourage a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise. When people are enjoying a lifestyle change they feel better within themselves, and it makes them feel enthusiastic about their job, which in turn reduces sick days.

I am also engaged by the Salvation Army. My motivational talks with the Salvation Army are directed to the unemployed youth of our community. This seminar is aimed at self worth and self esteem. Making people realize that they have the potential to become anything that they want to be. This makes them feel better about themselves, and gives them the enthusiasm to look for work and become part of the work force.

I also deliver seminars at a leading Brisbane gymnasium on diet, exercise and heart awareness. Members of the gym are then encouraged to get serious about their fitness regime, and look at just how healthy their eating patterns are. They are keen to join my running program and see what hard training goes into running.

My seminars have helped numerous people get back into enjoying life. People now realize that life only comes around once, so they must take care of themselves, both mentally and physically. With the right attitude towards individual goals, and the right diet and exercise we can all enjoy healthy lifestyles.

My seminars are interesting, informative, fun, and most importantly motivational. My talk hits every individual personally, and in a profound way that makes them want to do something about their lifestyle. I talk from experience and from the heart and I am passionate about reaching out to make a change to each and every person.

For more information contact Mal Wilson by email:

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