This year, I’m running a race I’d never have dreamed of being able to do: the New York City Marathon.
The NYC Marathon is one of the great marathons in the world today. First run in 1970, the race attracted 127 entrants of which 55 finished. The race has grown substantially since then and saw over 50,000 runners take part in 2014.
I’ll be running the streets of the Big Apple to raise awareness for COPD and other respiratory diseases with the support of New York City’s own Pulmonary Wellness and Rehabilitation Center, the American Lung Association and the National Asthma Council Australia. But to make sure I get there and get to the finish line, I still need your help.
While I have completed a marathon in each of the Ironman events I’ve contested, this will be very different in many ways.
Weather conditions in New York in November will be much colder than I’m use d to with temperatures ranging between 6 and 15 degrees Celsius. This will pose the biggest challenge due to the effect cool temperatures have on my breathing. Many people with COPD, asthma and other respiratory diseases find that their disease is greatly affected by both changeable weather and cool temperatures. Last year, runners were greeted with 40mph winds at the start of the race so this also be a consideration when preparing for the race
My best time for a marathon distance – in the Australian Ironman event at Port Macquarie – was 6 hours 33 minutes.. I’ve decided I want to break the 6-hour mark in New York, so I’ve set my goal time of 5.45.
By normal running standards, this is slow but for someone with COPD and asthma, it would be a very slick time. Maybe I should be happy with just finishing – of course I will be – but my fundamental belief is that I can keep improving by adapting different training methods that strengthen my respiratory system.
2015 has brought a change of coach for me as I felt I needed someone with experience in training people with respiratory disease. In the past, I’ve gone with coaches with many athletes underneath them and have felt they don’t really understand the needs of an athlete with disease condition like mine. For that reason, I’ve engaged the services of Doug Belford, a five time Ironman finisher with multiple distance triathlons under his belt. Doug has also played football at the elite level and has a lifetime of running experience to tap into. Most importantly, Doug has been my personal fitness trainer for 10 years and has worked with me pre and post COPD diagnosis. Already, not long after starting training with Doug, we’ve seen an improvement in my ability to reach faster running speeds.
Doug will be joining the COPD athlete team as an online advisor in the near future, where he’ll be sharing some of our training secrets as well as exercises for all levels of people with COPD and asthma in the form of video blogs.
Help raise lung health awareness by helping me get to NYC
I’ve been fortunate enough to be offered a charity entry with the American Lung Association Northeast. However, to realise this dream I still need to raise $5000 US and I need your help.
If you’d like to see me be the first COPD patient with less than 30% lung function to complete the New York marathon without using supplementary oxygen, while also helping raise awareness of COPD and other lung conditions, across Australia and the USA then please donate. Your help will be very much appreciated!