'I was clinically dead for 25 minutes': Why Mark Felstead is refusing to let fate call the shots

The veteran cyclist assumed he was in robust health and speeding towards age-group glory – until one fateful race changed everything

Mark Felstead on his bike in Berlin
(Image credit: Timm Kölln Photography)

Speaking to me by video call from his home in Berlin, Mark Felstead is the picture of health. Lean and smartly dressed, the events management consultant gives off a youthful energy and could easily pass as a decade younger than his 59 years. If you didn’t know, you would never guess that, just three and a half years ago, he suffered a medical crisis so severe that he is lucky to be alive. “It was the evening of 15 August 2018,” says Felstead, his voice cracking with emotion. “I kissed my wife and daughter goodbye, and headed off on my bike to the local duathlon – the emotional part is, I didn’t realise how close I was to never seeing them again.” 

Most of the rest of that August evening is a complete blank to Felstead. He has pieced together what happened from what others have recounted to him. “I did the event, or so I’m told,” he says, “and literally 300 metres from the finish line I collapsed.” There had been no hint of anything going awry in his body: Felstead’s last memory is feeling strong while running in a competitive group towards the front of the race. Then the lights went out. 

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