A group of 6 young adults, experiencing a range of moderate partly controlled asthma - time to time uncontrolled asthma, were involved in the event "asthma-marathon". They were treated for their asthma and trained by a professional coach. After 9 months with a focused effort, all 6 were able to complete a marathon of 42.3 km in New York City, USA, without extra medication. This shows that despite having moderate asthma, if you are well treated and well trained, running a marathon is possible.
The training programme was initiated by Professor Vibeke Backer, MD DMSci, from the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark whom together with a coach from the National organisation “Team Denmark” supported both treatment, asthma management and training for the runners during the marathon.
“Before I took part in the New York marathon, I did lose confidence in my own ability to perform in sports. It was hard to motivate yourself to train when you 100% is no match for a non-asthmatic person. My asthma sometimes felt like breathing through a whistle. If you try to run and whistle at the time you’ll feel what I felt.
“During training for the marathon, I felt my confidence grow. On the day of the race, I knew I was about to embark on something I had felt was impossible only a year before. When the starter’s signal sounded and we were off to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge I could not believe it. It felt surreal to consider myself on equal terms with all these other runners.
“The minute I was past the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge it was all about the race and the interaction with the other runners and all the fantastic people watching and performing along the route. I experience a kind of freedom and joy with sports, which I had never imagined possible.”
“I feel that the New York City Marathon was my cure. I find that gaining control of my asthma has opened me up towards a new and much more sustainable life style, where I can control my own health to a much larger degree than before.”
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WSD is an initiative organised by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) in collaboration with the European Lung Foundation (ELF).