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  • Cindy Kuzma

After Cheating Death Twice, Ironman Powers Through Races With Another Person’s Heart


Heart transplant recipient Derek Fitzgerald runs, bikes, and swims for a reason: “to be the best custodian of my body.”

Forty-four-year-old Derek Fitzgerald was training for the 2016 Los Angeles Marathonwhen he started feeling odd every once in a while—dizzy, lightheaded, struggling to breathe. He started the race but had to drop out before the finish.

The sensations weren’t entirely unfamiliar. In fact, Fitzgerald lived six years feeling like, as he puts it, the losing competitor in the late rounds of a heavyweight fight.

But that was before he ever trained for his first 5K, much less completed three marathons, four half Ironman triathlons, and five full ones. And, it was before he received a new heart.

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