Navy sailor to run in New York Marathon as Heart Foundation Ambassador

Published on SBLT Bianca Wise (author)

Topic(s): Heart Foundation, Running

Leading Seaman Josh O’Hanlon is raising funds for the Heart Foundation by taking part in the 2013 New York Marathon. (photo: Unknown)
Leading Seaman Josh O’Hanlon is raising funds for the Heart Foundation by taking part in the 2013 New York Marathon.

Leading Seaman Josh O’Hanlon is raising funds for the Heart Foundation while he raises his heart rate in preparation for the 2013 ING New York Marathon.

“By taking part in the New York Marathon, Joshua O’Hanlon is not only raising vital funds to help the Heart Foundation continue its lifesaving work, he is also spreading the important message about the benefits of being physically active to all Australians,” said Kerry Doyle, Heart Foundation Chief Executive – NSW.

The Gold Coast native is one of only 25 runners chosen to represent Australia’s heart charity in the world renowned event taking place in November this year.

“I am extremely honoured to have been selected,” said 33 year old Josh “I’m running for my good mate who has been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and for all the people who have been affected by heart disease.”

Forming a strong bond of friendship from the moment they first met onboard HMAS Sydney in May 2010. Josh was understandably saddened when he heard the news a close Navy mate had been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AF).

AF is one of a number of disorders commonly referred to as arrhythmias, in which the heart does not beat with a normal rhythm. Caused by a disturbance of the heart’s own electrical system, AF is one of the most common types of arrhythmia, occurring in about 2% of the general population.

“I am hoping to inspire my friends and work mates to get out there and be active to help prevent heart disease,” said the former Nerang High student.

Josh believes there must be something about HMAS Sydney the ship he met his motivating mate on as in 2009 onboard the same Royal Australian Navy platform Josh met his now wife.

Petty Officer Rebecca O’Hanlon was hoping to attend the marathon in support of her husband, but a busy ship schedule means Rebecca will be supporting from afar while HMAS Choules is at sea. Even though his wife is unable to attend there is no shortage of encouragement from family and naval friends who as Josh explains are “very proud of what I am setting out to achieve.” 

“I am a mix of excitement and nerves but I am really looking forward to the challenge of tackling my first marathon,” said avid runner Josh who is working hard to prepare for the race.

He is on a roll so far, participating in a running event every month the past three months including the Blue Mountains based North Face 10 in May, Men’s Health Urbanathlon in June and Gold Coast Marathon in July. He is looking forward to competing in the City2Surf next month with the Blackmores Half Marathon to follow in September.

Aiming to raise $7500 for the Heart Foundation through a variety of events, Josh has plenty of prizes up for grabs in his current raffle including an open water dive course, Sydney Harbour dinner cruise for two, and a family pass to Taronga Zoo.

“Taking part in this world class sporting event is an experience of a lifetime and Josh is doing so with the knowledge that the funds he is raising will help to fight cardiovascular disease, which claims one Australian life every 11 minutes,” said Ms Doyle.

To make your donation and help support Josh achieve his fund raising target of $7500 for the Heart Foundation visit

Josh transferred to the Navy in 2005 after almost six years in the Army. He is currently posted to NUSHIP Canberra, the Navy’s first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), due to be commissioned in January next year.