Fighting fit and the future flame of farming

FRANK Chislett is a man with a second chance. Having suffered a heart attack at the age of 57, the Yorkshire farmer was told by his surgeon he was lucky to be alive.

The timing of his health scare – November 2007 – was particularly poignant, as it happened just five days before he was due to walk his eldest daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

Following an angioplasty (which relieves blockages in the heart) Frank was, in his own words, luckily able to execute his fatherly duty and witness Rachel have her special day as he watched on with his wife, Diane.

“The hospital made me well aware those who suffer cardiac arrests often don’t get a second chance,” says Frank, who also works as a professional musician with the Bavarian Stompers. “I had been given that opportunity and life is too short not to take it.”

For Frank, what came next was simple – things had to change. It is this no-nonsense attitude which becomes apparent when he launches into conversation,  be it on farming or fitness.

Weighing in at 90kg (14 stone, four pounds) at the time of his scare, his lifestyle was the first thing to be overhauled.

“No meat pies, no crisps, no pints and no cheese – our fridge was always filled with lovely cheese,” he says. “And don’t get me started about custard creams – who can just have one? I’d have most of the pack. Everything had to go.”

Challenged by his youngest daughter, Georgina, to compete in the Jane Tomlinson Leeds 10km run once fully recovered, he accepted and began his training. But how does somebody who has never run before in his life begin to train for their first 10km?

“That’s a very good question, because I really had never run in my life so it was hard. When I started I was very conscious everybody knew me as that farmer up the road who plays the accordion and that everyone would see me trying to get fit.

“I set myself little targets, running to one lamp post, walking to the next and I realised how hard it was going to be.”

Eureka moment

The initial weeks were made tougher dealing with drivers casting judgement as they passed him on the road. “I ran in my coat, in dark colours not wanting to be seen and I would always get the yells of derision as drivers passed me by.”

It wasn’t until Frank got knocked down by a driver who did not see him because of his dark clothes that he decided to buy himself the proper, psychedelic, roadworthy kit.

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