Second Etape Loch Ness test for courageous heart attack survivor
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AN INVERNESS heart attack survivor is set to tackle the gruelling Etape Loch Ness for a second time.
Doug Booth, who turned 50 in October last year, reacted to the trauma of his sudden illness by completing last year’s cycle challenge just five months after buying his first road bike.
The off-shore worker was previously fit and healthy, but had to undergo a quintuple heart bypass in 2018.
Rather than discourage him from staying active and testing his physique to the full, the experience made Mr Booth all the more determined to prove himself on the famous Loch Ness circuit.
The event, held this year for the seventh time, is one of Scotland’s few closed road sportives and takes in 66 miles, including a timed ‘King of the Mountain’ stage, scaling a formidable 4.8-mile climb that hit 12 per cent gradient and reaches 380m in height.
Last year a record 5600 competitors took part.
Mr Booth explained why he was so driven to complete the course again.
“Having my heart attack and operation has made me determined to set myself goals to prove that I can still do things,” he said.
“Suffering from a heart attack came as a real shock to me as I was fit and healthy right until it happened, but in my case it was hereditary.
“I believe there is no point moping around about things like this. You have to keep going.”
Mr Booth’s chosen charity The British Heart Foundation understandably means a lot to him given that the illness runs in his family, but also due to the loss of a close friend.
The Moray Firth Cycling Club member regularly completes 45 to 50-mile cycles with the group.
In bad weather, he has an indoor bike to maintain his training regime and, this year, he hopes to break the three-hour mark.
“Having my heart attack was a real shock and gives me the motivation to get out on my bike,” Mr Booth added.
There are still a few remaining places for the 2020 Etape Loch Ness, open to those who pledge to raise at least £150 for Macmillan Cancer Support.