Sooke’s Ken Pungente

Running Man

A heart attack stopped Ken Pungente, but it only ignited his competitive juices to run longer and harder

If you gotten to know runner Ken Pungente the last couple of years or so, there’s something you might not know about him.

Pungente, 72, survived a heart attack while racing in a 12-kilometre race in Cedar, south of Nanaimo.

The story begins on a drizzly Sunday morning in February 2007, but it certainly doesn’t end there.

He remembers very little about the heart attack, but does remember starting the race. His saving grace was four women who came to his rescue and brought him back to life through their training as registered nurses and respiratory therapists.

The amazing part of this story, perhaps, is instead of feeling sorry for himself or giving up on running, he did the complete opposite.

He ran more competitively and trained twice as hard.

Although he had been a runner for more than 12 years, it wasn’t until after his heart attack that he ran a full marathon – in Ireland and Greece.

“I think it’s important to say there is something afterwards. You need to get on with your life. You need to do things, not just sit at home and wait to die,” Pungente said.

Pungente has always been an athlete. He was playing both hockey and rugby well into his adult years. It was only after he “retired” from rugby at age 49 that he gave running a shot.

He only started running because he was filled with an “awful sense of guilt” that he was doing nothing to stay fit.

Pungente wasn’t particularly enamoured by it, but he kept at it and soon was addicted.

“I started running , then ran a little longer … before I knew it I was running more than a kilometre and I expanded it from that,” he recalled.

Within a few years, he was running in charity events and soon entered his first half-marathon. He figured he’s run at least 30 marathons over the last 20 years.

And while he admits, the heart attack did put running aside briefly, he now believes he has a more competitive spirit because of it.

“I push the envelope more now then ever before,” Pungente said. “Sometimes I ask myself: What are you trying to prove, but it makes me feel good. I love it.”

Last weekend, Pungente ran in the CIBC Run for a Cure five-kilometre run and on Sunday (Oct. 11) will be front and centre in the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon’s half-marathon.

“People need to be told to get on with their life after a heart attack,” he said. “Get out and do things – stay active.”

klaird@blackpress.ca

 

Just Posted

Public hearing set for Jordan River land

B.C. Hydro seeks CRD rezoning to sell the land

Group seeks to build honorary RCMP sculpture in Sooke

Sooke RCMP officers work long hours protecting the community, and a local… Continue reading

Sooke high school welcomes new principal

Laura Fulton was formerly vice principal at Belmont High and Spencer Middle schools

Refugee family gets help with rent

Sooke council changes scope of $3,600 grant

Pedestrian in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being struck in View Royal

Incident closed Island Highway for several hours Wednesday night

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Toronto man charged in double homicide

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Comox cannabis lab takes step forward towards reality

A former Comox Valley resident and current adjunct botany professor at UBC… Continue reading

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries’ enacts smoking ban

Fines and extra patrols not happening at this time as ban begins Monday

Police to provide update on unsolved 13-year-old B.C. girl’s murder

IHIT say no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Marrisa Shen’s death

Rural B.C. students score visit with Canadiens netminder Carey Price

Two students from the Caiboo Chilcotin can hardly wait to meet hometown hero Carey Price in Montreal.

VIDEO: Elk parade on Vancouver Island is awesome sight

They’re out in force for a morning stroll. Check out some of Youbou’s famous elk.

North Delta’s Colton Hasebe named BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 2018 Champion Child

Colton takes the reins from 2107 Champion Child and Tsawwassen resident Taylin McGill

Most Read