A Heart for Running: How Running Saved My Life, is the story of how a talented amateur runner, John McDonnell, overcame a severe heart condition in his late 40s, recovered, and came back even stronger. John is of Irish descent and grew up in Massachusetts. He married an Irish woman, Roisin, and after a few years, they decided to move to Ireland. In an all-too-common story, as he worked hard at getting a career going, John became out of shape and overweight. He turned this around by taking up running, which also inspired him to eat more healthy foods.
He became an increasingly better runner as the years went by, until out of nowhere he had a stroke in his late 40s. The cause turned out to be a hole in his heart, a congenital condition called an atrial septal defect. His Journey to get this surgically repaired, then recover and rehab from both the stroke and surgery, is very inspiring.