A Runner’s Heart

Barger Screen Shot

Most people on the verge of a potential “widow maker heart attack,” feel nauseas, lethargic, and completely out of breathe. Despite the bulge on his left coronary artery, Dan Barger, on the other hand, only felt the pressure to train and attack the steep hills of the Sierra Nevada in preparation for his next endurance event. That is why, after going in for a routine checkup in May, his doctors were completely astounded to discover that ultra athlete Barger had congenital aortic stenosis. How could this be possible? How can someone with such a lack of blood flow to his heart not only feel healthy enough to exercise, but well enough to run marathon-like distances on a daily basis? Within two weeks Barger was on the operating table to have a mechanical valve implanted into his artery to improve blood flow and his doctors have told him it is time to take it easy. A long-distance runner at heart, however, Barger has no plans to follow this advice. In fact, despite having the valve implanted in his heart just five months ago, Barger is already off and running more than 20 miles a day in preparation on once again running the Western States Endurance Run, a grueling 100-mile race through the rugged Sierra Nevada. A Runner’s Heart, the Dan Barger Story will follow Barger as he pushes himself, and the medical valve technology, to new limits. He may have been on the verge of a “widow maker’s heart attack,” but now Barger is making a comeback as he attacks the steep hills of the Sierra Nevada in preparation for another Western States. After all, he has a runner’s heart.

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