Running the New York City Marathon


Russ’s NYC Marathon Journey

COPD and RunningIn my endeavour to continually shine a light on COPD and asthma and encourage more spending globally on research, patient education and, hopefully, a cure, I’m running the New York City Marathon.

I’ve accepted a charity entry via the American Lung Association of the Northeast to run the marathon in November this year.

While I have completed a marathon at the end of each Ironman event I’ve competed in, New York will be a very different challenge, even though I don’t have to swim and cycle first.

So, What’s the Point?

I firmly believe that we all have a purpose in this life and it’s taken my COPD diagnosis to realize mine.

Raising awareness and helping other people with chronic lung conditions is what drives me to find new challenges and raise the bar.

The more we can bring this disease into focus, the more people will take notice of the struggles and frustration patients deal with.

While raising awareness can be done in many ways, for me it’s through sporting events as I’ve always been a sports nut. I’m also a believer that while exercise will not cure COPD, you can train your body to be very efficient in its use of oxygen, which in-turn improves your COPD symptoms.

By completing these events, I hope to convince and inspire patients that their quality of life can be improved by exercise.

COPD and Running

For most COPD patients, running is not a normal part of life, but there are some who’ve been able to run or walk different events around the world.

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While my main goal is to finish and raise awareness for COPD, my personal goal is to run the race in a time of 5hrs 45mins. I suspect I’ll be the first stage IV COPD patient to do this.

The biggest consideration in preparing for this race will to keep my oxygen levels above 92% and heart rate under 150 bpm. My last pulmonary function test result indicated a FEV1 of 25%, which is not great but is something to work with. My theory of using 100% of the lung function I do have will be put to the test for sure.

New York City Challenges

When I arrive in NYC, I’ll be confronted by two major triggers: cold and pollution.

I am planning on combating the cold by wearing appropriate clothing and by doing plenty of night and early morning training during the Australian winter. While the winters are pretty mild where I live, it will help me cope better in New York.

As for pollution, training in an exhaust filled room is probably not a great simulation idea. So we’ll explore the option of wearing a mask of some type – not ideal for a marathon but it could be a necessity.

This will be my first race of any type outside of Australia. While being a great adventure, it will also be a little daunting.

I like to see the course I’m competing on before an event so I can piece together how I expect the race to unfold. I will arrive in New York around a week before the race and will be using that time to recover from the flight – over 18 hours flying time on oxygen – and acclimatizing to the New York cold.

Next page: training, the documentary and the support crew.

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