Running for a reason — Why I’m taking part in this year’s Ramathon

In a couple of weeks, runners from all over the county will participate in the Ramathon.
For Koobr’s Managing Director, Craig Barker, this grueling half marathon is about more than a test of physical endurance. Here he explains his personal reasons for taking part.

I’ve always been an active person. I believe exercise is an important part of a balanced lifestyle, whether that means working out in the gym, going swimming with my kids, or making the conscious effort to cycle to work instead of taking the car. After taking up karate a couple of years ago, it quickly became one of my favourite ways to stay in shape and I’ve just very recently qualified for my blue belt.

In short, I’m pretty happy with my overall level of fitness. But there’s one area where I’ve always struggled, and that’s running.

People who know me closely and know my health background think it’s crazy that I’ve decided to enter into the Ramathon — a gruelling half marathon that starts and ends at Derby’s Pride Park Stadium — this year in June.

But I’ve got my own personal reasons for taking part. I’ve also found myself a willing running partner (which definitely helps) in the form of Koobr’s Marketing Manager, Rebecca Shaw.

Breathing difficulties — Am I crazy?

So why do my friends and family think I am crazy and I why is it unexpected that I would be able to do something like this?

Growing up, I suffered regularly with breathing difficulties, the kind that kept my parents up in the night, worried that I might stop breathing altogether! I was eventually diagnosed with asthma at quite a young age, but it got progressively worse as I got older, often suffering with uncontrollable coughing bouts, so I went back to see the doctor.

I told the doctor that it could not be Asthma as the medication was not working. I was quite worried and explained that there must be something else causing the problems, I was severely debilitated by my chest problems. The doctor told me that I was on the strongest medication that he could give and there was nothing more he could do.

I was referred to the hospital again and saw several doctors, one of which was newly qualified, but luckily, he did not just look at the Asthma ‘label’ and looked for an alternate diagnosis. After various breathing and lung function tests it was determined that I had Bronchiectasis.

Bronchiectasis is a form of lung damage that means I am prone to chest infections. It can be serious, but you can lead a full life and the condition can be managed. This was likely to have been caused by a severe infection that went untreated in my earlier years, but they cannot be sure.

Asthma UK has helped countless people and we are privileged to be supporting them with this challenge.

I still have Asthma, but I have been left with the feeling that because I had that label, the correct treatment for my condition was not identified, meaning I had many years of unnecessary suffering.

The treatment for me is healthy living. I hardly need my Asthma medication now and lead a full and active life. If I get a chest infection, I need to get it treated quickly, but this probably only happens once per year and I get over it quickly.

I was deeply upset by the fact that I had been ill for so long, I felt like I missed out on so much. At this point I drew a line in the sand and decided I needed to change my life. I decided that I was no longer going to be ill. I believe that mind-over-matter and your beliefs have a massive effect over illness and how quickly you can overcome it.

My eldest daughter Olivia has now been diagnosed with Asthma and I am working hard to educate her about living with the condition and leading a full and active childhood. She does not let it restrict her at all.

img_0932So, why am I running the Ramathon?

Basically, I want people diagnosed with Asthma to be given the right support and treatment, I want to help with research into the condition. If we can play even a small part in helping someone to deal with their Asthma and where possible, lead full life without experiencing the problems I did, then that would be amazing.

Asthma UK has helped countless people and we are privileged to be supporting them with this challenge.

Rebecca and I are both fundraising and we have set up Just Giving pages that we will be sharing (links below). The rest of Team Koobr will be supporting us from the sidelines. Training for the event is going well and we are both confident that we will be able to complete the challenge.

If you would like to support our cause, we welcome your donations.

Assuming we are still standing, we will be Tweeting a picture at each mile marker, we would love to hear from you on the day! Better still, come along and cheer us on with the rest of Team Koobr!

Go to Craig’s Just Giving page to make a contribution here

Go to Rebecca’s Just Giving page to make a contribution here