He’s a miracle man who gives thanks every day that he’s still alive.

Marathon runner Sean Doyle, 47, was apparently fit and healthy when he suddenly collapsed with a massive heart attack.

He was among dozens of other runners lining up for the start of Huddersfield’s popular Parkrun when his world came crashing down.

As medics battled to save the dad-of-two a second heart attack left him with only a 6% chance of survival.

Yet the following day he was tucking into coffee and buttery toast, two weeks later he was home, seven weeks later he was back at work – and 12 weeks later he was running again.

Looking back on that fateful day – Saturday, May 11 2013 – sales manager Sean said: “I really shouldn’t be here and I say a little prayer of thanks every night before I go to bed.

“You could say I’m a walking miracle or maybe that should be a running miracle!”

Hugging his wife Helen, 41, and children Katie, 14, and Oliver, 11, Sean said: “You couldn’t write the script. It would make a great movie, like Forest Gump in reverse.”

Sean, of Brockholes, had always loved running. He had completed four marathons and was a member of Holmfirth Harriers.

He was also a regular at Parkrun in Greenhead Park and it was there his life almost came to an end.

“It was probably between 8.30am and 9am when it happened. Parkrun starts at 9am,” said Sean.

“The last thing I remember was saying goodbye to Oliver and parking the car outside the park. The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital on Sunday teatime with a nurse with purple hair bringing me coffee and buttery toast.”

The bit in between has been filled in by others but for those closest to him it’s still too raw to dwell on.

Sean gets emotional talking about it too. “From what I’m told it was a total collapse. I fell down vertically, smashing my teeth and cutting my chin.”

It was fortunate that there were people on hand to help. Dinah Coogan, a nurse, and his GP, Dr Emma Spencer, started CPR and kept him alive until paramedics arrived.

Medics worked on him for 20 minutes before he was rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, accompanied in the ambulance by fellow Harrier Simon Edwards.

By coincidence, the hospital had just taken delivery of a new piece of life-saving equipment.

The electrically-powered Lucas 2 chest compression system – a mechanical chest pump – hadn’t been used before.

An electrically-powered Lucas 2 chest compression system, like the one which helped save the life of Huddersfield runner Sean Doyle.
 

It was the same piece of technology that saved the life of soccer star Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton player who suffered a heart attack on the pitch the year before.

“It was the first time it had been used,” said Sean. “It’s like a glorified toilet plunger and I was on it for two hours.

“I found out later the machine had only arrived the day before and I was the first person to use it. At least they knew it worked!”

The machine left Sean’s ribs black and blue and he needed eight paracetamols a day to ease the pain.

“I looked like I’d done 12 rounds with Mike Tyson but I’d rather do that and survive than not survive at all.”

The shock of what happened affected his family deeply. “It was a big shock for my family,” he said.

“Helen received a call saying there had been an incident at Parkrun and that was all she was told.

“My daughter then picked up the phone and it was still connected and she could hear what was going on in the ambulance. To this day she has never wanted to talk about it.”

Sean was put into an induced coma and astounded doctors at how quickly he came round.

His recovery was nothing short of remarkable but he fears he would not be alive today had he not been so close to A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

The emergency units at Huddersfield and Calderdale Royal Hospital are under review and, though not a tub thumping campaigner, Sean said: “Without a local A&E I would not have survived.

“Everyone should have a hospital in their own backyard that’s fully maintained. Huddersfield is a major town and any cut to health services is one cut too far.

“In business these days you carry out risk assessments but beyond that you need a safety net if things go wrong.

“The roads are atrocious around here and you can’t expect people to travel greater distances.

“I don’t believe in the soapbox or strikes. I prefer to hit those responsible where it hurts – in the ballot box.”

Sean has exorcised the ghosts of Greenhead Park and is back at Parkrun, where a collection in his name raised money for a defibrillator.

“Running is what I do and to give it up just because I’d had a heart attack wasn’t an option. People do keep on running.

First Parkrun at Greenhead Park after Sean Doyle's heart attack the previous week - Runners applaud message from Sean read by his friend Simon Edwards.
 

“I am not allowed to do marathons anymore and 10 miles is the limit. I now run about 35 miles a week. I’ve proved you don’t have to give up what you enjoy doing.”

Sean was discharged by his doctor 12 weeks after the heart attack and hasn’t looked back. “I take the tablets they gave me but I have carried an angina spray since and never had to use it.

“People said I was barmy going back to running but they are coming round to my way of thinking now!”

Last year Sean and Oliver took part in Kirkwood Hospice’s Trail Race. Now big Town fan Sean has organised a fundraising challenge to raise money for the club’s Keep It Up campaign, which supports Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Sean, Oliver, Dr Spencer, Dinah and Simon will be among a 15-strong team which will run 50 laps of the pitch – about 11 miles – at the John Smith’s Stadium ahead of the game against Watford on January 10.

“It’s my way of saying thank you to the NHS,” said Sean. “I hope people will support the cause.”

To donate go to www.justgiving.com/Sean-Doyle5/