Dave Watkins has brought cardiac athletes together from across 46 states and 9 countries to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease. The documentary follows 8 of these as they come together on a journey from flatline to finish line at Ironman® Arizona.

Extended footage – learn about the cast!

Dave Watkins

Dave Watkins, Age 41:
Open Heart Surgery May 20, 2005
Seattle, WA

Flatlined for 5 minutes… No functional heartbeat. Dave’s family was brought into his ICU hospital room to say any ‘last words’ before he was wheeled back in to the operating room. He had just undergone open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve. The doctors were able to bring him back to life. A few weeks later, Dave had a stroke. He once again recovered, and with a new lease on life, Dave became a man on a mission. Dave now uses endurance sports as a way to teach his daughters ‘life lessons.’ Get ready… he’ll probably teach you a few of these lessons as well! The leader of the pack, Dave has set out to find other cardiac patients who are out to prove that your heart can take you farther than you might think.

Ellen Charnley

Ellen Charnley, Age 43:
Open Heart Surgery March 26, 2010
Chicago, IL / Carmel, CA

Planes, trains, and automobiles… Ellen is a true Road Warrior. As a business consultant, Ellen travels the globe, working endless long hours with corporations from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Ellen has lived in London, Bermuda, San Francisco, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Chicago. Who knows where she’ll end up next! How will she train for Ironman® while living on airplane food and hotel room service, while working out in stuffy, cramped hotel gyms? Where will she find the time? Now, add to that the fact that Ellen recently found out she was born with multiple holes in her heart and that it was slowly failing. Doctors described her heart as ‘Swiss cheese’ and told her that she needed immediate open-heart surgery to save her life. This was such a life altering experience for Ellen she wrote a book about it ( Follow Ellen as she navigates through her schedule and pushes her heart beyond boundaries. Good luck Ellen. You’re going to need it!

Adam Knight

Adam Knight, Age 25:
Open Heart Surgery March 30, 2010
Seattle, WA

Three heart surgeries all before the age of 25. Adam’s story can stop there. The kid’s body has been traumatized over and over again. He’s never been much of an athlete and he often found himself on the sidelines, but he always stayed active and liked to run and ride his bike. He even played a little water polo. But he never committed. “I don’t like pain.” Those are Adam’s words… heard many times. Who can blame him? He’s suffered more pain at his young age then most experience in a life time.

Adam didn’t even really know what Ironman® was a year ago. But get ready, Adam. You have no idea what you just got yourself into. Pain? You don’t like pain? That’s just plain funny for a guy who’s about to experience 17 hours of it. The difference is that this time he’ll be awake while his body gets traumatized inside and out.

Ryan Leong

Ryan Leong, Age 40:
Open Heart Surgery December 14, 2009
Honolulu, HI

Paradise: Sandy beaches, tropical drinks with an umbrella, lounging in the warm sun… Sounds good, right? This is not the paradise Ryan lives in. Yes, he lives in Hawaii, but paradise for Ryan is being crouched on his bike for hours in the blistering heat, running until the soles of his shoes begin to melt on the pavement, swimming longer than you’d care to drive your convertible rental car. You see, Ryan NEEDS to go long and hard. The harder his heart works, the longer he’ll live. Ryan has what is called a ‘Stone Heart’. Many have said they’d rather die than race for 140.6 miles. Ryan simply trains and races to live. Ironman® is his paradise.


Team Ironheart

Dave, Ellen, Adam and Ryan are joined by fellow cardiac athletes Patrick, Scott, Jeremy and Jim as they commit together
to train for a year to complete in the Ironman®.

They are all part of the Ironheart Racing Team – a group of cardiac patients, passionate about endurance sports.