After 18 months of training, I ran the marathon with COPD
Sarah tells us what it’s like to run the London Marathon with COPD
I have severe COPD - namely emphysema. After my diagnosis, I was depressed. I thought my life was over.
Then, I ended up joining Team Breathe to show folks in the same position as me that that’s not true. I ended up getting much more back in return.
I’m not an athletic or sporty type, so I joined a gym and booked some personal training sessions. Somehow along the way, I decided that I had it in me to take on the London Marathon. My first goal was to get up the stairs to my flat with some shopping. From then on, we had to concentrate on building up my strength and stamina to complete the 26 miles.
Training wasn’t easy
Training with COPD it wasn’t easy. When I started out I could only manage five minutes on an exercise bike. In the end, it took me 18 months to train!
My doctor also had to prescribe me oxygen, because even when I was just walking fast, my oxygen was dropping to dangerous levels.
Thanks to the oxygen, I could push myself harder in the gym, without damaging my health.
I started fundraising, using my Facebook page to tell folks what I was doing. I'd been very secretive about my condition, so as I became fitter I was more confident in sharing what I was up to. I launched my fundraising page six weeks before the marathon and held a bake sale at work.
"I will cherish that memory for the rest of my life"
Finally, the big day arrived, and somehow I got through it. Whenever I think about the finish line, and what I achieved, I fill up with tears.
I jogged and walked fast at the beginning. Then it became a very determined walk. It took longer than anticipated but I wanted to finish strongly.
When I embarked on this mad idea, I never pictured getting across the finish line. The BLF events team encouraged me throughout my training and joined me for the final mile. We went over the finish line together.
I will cherish that memory for the rest of my life.
Everyone should join Team Breathe
I would say that everyone who’s thinking about it should join Team Breathe. Not only will you achieve something personal and special in your own life, but you’ll be doing something amazing for an incredible organisation.
As part of Team Breathe, you work together, towards a goal, and sharing all the ups and downs with each other. And of course, afterwards, there’s this massive sense of achievement!
To anyone with COPD, know that you can achieve amazing things. It doesn't have to be running a marathon. Just having a goal and something to work towards can change your life. Push hard and don't let that nasty old COPD take over.
I’ve helped fund research and support services
In the end, I managed to raise £2,195 for the British Lung Foundation. In total, Team Breathe’s London marathon runners raised over £320,000!
I know that the money I’ve raised will help fund British Lung Foundation’s research and support services.
I can't tell you how important that is. We need the BLF for people like me. For our friends and family. And for anyone whose life is touched by a lung condition.
I’ve found the BLF website and community invaluable. It’s helped me deal with my diagnosis, and manage my day-to-day living.
Thanks to that, I know I’m not alone.
If you've been successful in the ballot for the London Marathon, you can use your own place to run for us. If you've not been successful, then you can apply for one of our charity places. Get your application in as soon as possible to have the best chance of success!