“All I Remember is Having an Aura Whilst Running – but I Refused to Stop” | Ryan’s Story

On a warm night in July 2011, Ryan Tindall awoke to a surreal and terrifying scene: he was lying in an ambulance with his wife Fee, battling paramedics, and scared for his life.

Ryan later learned that he had suffered a severe seizure in his sleep, which would later form the diagnosis of epilepsy – a brain condition that Ryan knew almost nothing about at the time.

At the time, the 43-year-old Talent Acquisition Director from Hampshire was also unaware that his diagnosis would change his life forever. The most debilitating effect was severe depression over the next seven years.

“I did everything in my power to ignore the diagnosis, laugh it off, and try to prove that I wasn’t less of a ‘man’.

“You go from being ‘healthy’ to being disabled and dependent on others. Anxiety levels creep up due to the risk that a seizure will strike, and you fear that people see you as less of a person.

“Because of this, I lost myself. I started drinking heavily, working longer hours, and pushing everyone close to me away.

“This depression would almost lead to the end of my marriage, as well as my friendships and to me contemplating suicide. I was only saved by having my young daughter.

“Thankfully, some of those closest to me, including my family, stood by me and helped me to see I could still be the old me even though my life had changed.”

In 2020, Ryan began looking into brain surgery after five different types of medication failed to control his symptoms. However, he was also learning more about the positive effects of healthy lifestyle choices on epilepsy. With the support of his family, Ryan discovered a fresh purpose and agreed to try a ketogenic diet and running.

After his first few tentative runs, Ryan realised he’d found an outlet for his emotions. The sense of pride and accomplishment he felt after completing his very first 5km run also proved anything was possible.

“I haven’t stopped running! Although I must be careful not to push myself too hard.

“I have more seizures if I don’t exercise as this is how I control stress, which is one of my main seizure triggers.”

It wasn’t long before Ryan took up bigger challenges and started participating in events, going on to complete six marathons and three ultra-marathons.

Remarkably, during one marathon, Ryan suffered a temporal lobe seizure at mile 14, but he powered through to finish the challenge, coming close to achieving a personal best time of under four hours.

“All I remember is having an aura whilst running and coming to a stop. My wife was on the other side of the road supporting and apparently, I gestured to her that something was up, and I was pointing to the fact I had wet myself.

“Once I ran over to her, she realised I had limited speech, a sign of a seizure, but I refused to stop and continued.

“By the time she saw me again at the final mile, I was back to normal and just focused on finishing.”

Ryan’s next major event on his bucket list is the fast, flat, and friendly adidas Manchester Marathon.

Ryan is set to run alongside more than 30,000 participants through the streets of Greater Manchester, and he is thrilled at the prospect of being spurred on by friends, family and the 125,000 ardent supporters while supporting Epilepsy Society – a charity he has raised over £6,000 for.

“This is one of the UK’s biggest events – you can’t not get involved!! I can’t wait to get my Epilepsy Society vest on and run for #TeamPurple.

“I want to achieve a time of 3 hours 45 minutes. I am lucky: not everyone with epilepsy can do what I do, so I am doing this to raise awareness for all of us with epilepsy.

“I’ve heard such great things about the challenge, the atmosphere, the people, and the support around the course is exceptional. What better way to discover the city, than to run it?”

To help Ryan raise money to support Epilepsy Society, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/ryan-tindall7