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South African former ultramarathon runner Bruce Fordyce has announced that he plans to provide 200 defibrillators to park runs.

Park runs are a free timed 5km run, jog or walk in a park, nature reserve, beach golf estate or similar safe environment, held every Saturday morning and organised entirely by volunteers. A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, reports News24.

Besides having won nine Comrades Marathon races, eight of them in a row, Fordyce is also a huge park run fan. He has completed 437 park runs already.

There are 200 park runs across South Africa, Namibia and Eswatini, and Fordyce’s plan is to provide every single one of them with a defibrillator. It is estimated that it will cost him R4 million to purchase these devices.

“Globally, defibrillators have saved lives and could so here in SA. Thankfully, critical heart-related incidents at park runs are exceptionally rare. But, when they do happen, the chances of survival are 65% higher when a defibrillator is used within minutes, according to park run’s comprehensive reporting database.

It is estimated that there are about 1.2 million registered park run members in South Africa.

Image credit: The Citizen

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