Mum left with PTSD after dad died of heart attack as she crossed marathon finishing line

A mum says she has suffered PTSD since her dad died of a heart attack while she was running the London Half Marathon. Mum-of-three Felicity Williams says she constantly worries something else terrible will happen after her dad Simon Burridge, 66, went into a sudden cardiac arrest while she ran the race in 2022.

Felicity, a 33-year-old communications director and barre instructor, said she got the shocking news about her dad in a call just after crossing the finish line. The mum said she hasn’t run outside since, and has to keep her phone constantly by her side since the devastating news about her dad, who had no known history of heart issues and only suffered ‘mild chest pains’ before he died.

Despite her trauma, Felicity is determined to tackle her fears head-on and run the race again this year, alongside her sister Katie, 28, to turn the negative event into a positive one. Ahead of this year’s race, Felicity has opened up about the day she received the chilling news that her dad had suffered a serious cardiac arrest which put him into a coma before his death just days later.

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Overjoyed to have finished the race, Felicity tried to call her parents after crossing the line but was met with no answer – and soon was on a phone call with her youngest sister, Katie, who told her the devastating news of what had happened to their dad.

Felicity said: “There’s always an element of anticipation and nervousness because it’s a big event and I was raising money. I was running with a friend, and we planned a lovely day out in London after the race.”

When commuting to London, Felicity called her parents, and everything seemed normal. She said: “They were in good spirits, and they said to call them when I got to the finish line. I then put my phone on do not disturb – I just wanted to be in the zone. I did the race, and I was, naively, completely unaware of the events unfolding at my parents’ house.”

Felicity said shortly after finishing the race she got a call from Katie, who had been trying to contact her the whole time she was running, for two hours and six minutes. Her sister informed her that their dad had a heart attack moments after getting off the phone earlier that morning and was airlifted to a Bristol hospital from their home in the Cotswolds.

She said: “I was in the middle of all these crowds, and my youngest sister told me there had been an incident at home, and before she said anything else, my heart dropped. “I instantly knew that it was something really bad. And actually, despite the mayhem going on around me, it felt like the whole world froze.”

Felicity rushed to her sister Laura’s house in Brook Green, London, then to meet the rest of her family in Bristol, where it was confirmed that their father had suffered a cardiac arrest and a heart attack and was in the operating theatre for six hours. He was then moved to intensive care and was in an induced coma. However, he was without oxygen for too long and died nine days later.

Felicity said she has been unable to recover from the news, which came as a huge shock to her and her family. She said: “He woke up feeling absolutely fine. He came downstairs, he had breakfast, and was sitting at the kitchen table and just started to complain that he had mild chest pains, but didn’t think anything of it.

“They weren’t severe, but he went to lie down in the sitting room, and my mum got him a glass of water, but just a minute later, she found him unconscious.” Since the death of her father, Felicity has suffered form PTSD and always has to have her phone by her side. She has not run outside since her father’s passing, as she is worried something else terrible will happen.

But, just before Christmas, Felicity received an email advertising the London Landmarks Half Marathon again and thought it would be an excellent opportunity to turn something so negative into a positive memory. Now, Felicity is training for the marathon in the gym so she can see her phone clearly when running.

She said: “I don’t want people to be in the same situation we have had and are still going through. I just want to make my dad proud”.

To donate to Felicity’s fundraiser, follow this link –

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