Katy, TX – In October 2021, after more than a decade as a healthy, competitive runner, Esau Velazquez suffered a heart attack.
He said it came as a shock since he had none of the typical health complications that increase someone’s chance of a heart attack.
Unfortunately, the timing was terrible.
“Within about a week or two [after the heart attack] I received word from the Boston Marathon that I was accepted to participate,” Velazquez said.
It’s an elite level of athleticism that he never considered sitting out.
Instead, he thought he’d have to find a way to recover and train quickly. The marathon was scheduled for only six months after his heart attack.
Katherine Stone works at Memorial Hermann Cardiac Rehab. She said their goal was to help Velazquez recover and get back to the intense workouts he was used to.
“The further we got out from his [heart attack], we started increasing the intensity of his workout a little bit more and started adding running intervals and started increasing the intervals, and he tolerated all of that well,” she said.
“In fact, after I did Phase 1 of the rehab, I ran the [Boston] marathon,” he added. “It was my slowest marathon but yet it was my most satisfying one.”
He wore a t-shirt with big writing on the back. It said, “TOUGHER THAN A HEART ATTACK.”
He credits his amazing recovery to those at Memorial Hermann. As a thank you, he gifted his Boston bib to the team at the Cardiac Rehab Center.
Now, Velazquez plans to run the Houston marathon on Sunday and hopes to qualify for Boston again.