Post-Marathon With COPD Athlete Russell

Looking Back at The New York Marathon

COPD Patient Runs MarathonIt’s been two weeks since the New York marathon and now that I’ve returned home, there’s plenty of time to reflect on what has been achieved, both at a personal level and a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) awareness level.

The Avalanche

After three weeks in the United States, it was good to arrive back home in Australia and not have to be living out of a suitcase all the time. In my final week away I had some down time, which was great as I’d been extremely busy since two weeks before we left for New York.

Finalizing my oxygen unit and the associated medical clearance forms for the airlines was time-consuming. The New York Road Runners, who organize the marathon, had also asked for a medical clearance from my doctor so I could compete in the race.

I had a number of interview requests both in Australia and overseas before leaving for New York, along with having to travel to Melbourne two days before flying out for other TV and newspaper interviews.

When we arrived in New York the interest in what I was trying to achieve continued with more organizations wanting to report on my journey. While raising awareness for COPD and respiratory disease was the main focus of running the marathon, I was unprepared for the level of interest there was before the race.


I arrived in the U.S. 10 days before the marathon so I could adjust to the cold climate and have some training runs in my new surroundings. After a couple of days rest from the flight over, my wife and I traveled by bus to Washington, D.C. for the weekend.


It was here I had my first training run, a 3-mile hit out on a brisk Washington morning. It was a great confidence boost as I ran well in the cold conditions and my legs felt fresh and ready for the challenge ahead.

Once back in New York, we spent the next couple of days walking around Manhattan and Brooklyn racking up some 15 miles, which wasn’t too taxing on my legs, but reminded them they had a race coming up. With my coach and the rest of the team arriving on Wednesday night, Thursday was a good opportunity to have our last run before race day.

Coach Doug, his wife Tracey, and I met at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park on a cool and sunny morning. Doug wanted me to have an easy 3-mile run, just to make sure my legs felt good and my breathing was under control. I took a little under 40 minutes to complete and all was in order for Sunday’s marathon.

Race Day

The day started at 4 a.m., we had breakfast and made our way to the bus pickup point by 5:15. We were transported to the start line located at the Staten Island end of the Verrazano Bridge, along with over 50,000 other runners.

My wife Leanne and I, along with Doug and Tracey, all had the same starting time of 9:50 a.m. — the first wave of the day.

Next page: Russell recounts the first miles of the marathon

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