Heart surgery survivor to participate in St. Anthony's triathlon

Health scare changed a St. Pete man's life
Posted at 6:12 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 18:12:32-04

Swim 1.5K, bike 40K  and run 10K. The St. Anthony’s Triathlon is a challenge for anyone.

“It’s a world class event. They have Olympic athletes participating,” said Paul Brown.

It’s an event Brown never thought he’d be a part of.

Six years ago when he was 39 and a doctor told him he had three dangerous heart conditions. Severe blockage, leakage of the aortic valve and an aneurysm. But he didn’t feel anything wrong.

“I didn’t really have any symptoms, that’s why I got lucky. Because they said ay any time I could have keeled over and with those three things it wouldn’t have ended well.”

Paul first went to get checked out after discovering a family history of heart trouble. He didn’t know about that history because he’s adopted.

Open heart surgery was the hardest thing he’d ever gone through.

“They sawed me open and split me like a lobster.”

An 11-inch scar remains, but the lifestyle he had before the scare is gone.

Now he can no longer smoker and he eats healthy and exercises. Paul even run a half marathon.

Now he’s been training for his first ever triathlon, along about 3-thousand others.

“Swim, bike, run. Over and over.”

Paul is competing with his 21-year-old son. 

The goal is just to finish!

“I could never imagine doing it. This is beyond my wildest dreams. Like before I had the surgery and knew there was something wrong. I didn’t think I could ever do something like this,” he said.