Keep challenging yourself despite sarcoidosis
Nick is a Chandler’s Ford resident and an avid runner. In 2020 he completed three marathons, and one of them was in his back garden! He lives with sarcoidosis on the lungs, but that has not prevented him from conquering many incredible physical challenges.
Nick began running after signing up to a Tough Mudder back in 2013. He really enjoyed these events and continued entering them year on year. During an event in 2017, Nick experienced breathing problems and severe pain across his chest whilst taking on the ‘arctic enemy’ water obstacle. After seeking medical advice, he was informed he had asthma.
Nick’s interest in running kept growing and he completed the London Marathon in 2017, which was a huge achievement for him. Later that year he suffered badly during the Great South Run and decided it was time to get a second opinion. Having moved GP surgery, Nick sought an opinion from a different health professional who felt the symptoms could be a sign of something else. Following a biopsy, Nick was diagnosed with sarcoidosis on the lungs. Sarcoidosis is a rare condition that causes small patches of red and swollen tissue to develop in the organs of the body -it usually affects the lungs and skin.
Nick was advised to keep running by his consultant, but to listen to his body. Initially Nick did feel some fear when trail running, so made sure he didn’t go out alone in case he got into any trouble.
“You know your body, and if it is too much, you can reduce it.”
Nick has learned to see the signs and what negatively affects him, for example, cold air and rapid temperature change are factors that trigger respiratory difficulty. He now runs with a snood so that he can bring it up to help prevent inhaling cold air it and he will pull the snood up towards the end of a run, so moving into a warm environment is gradual.
Nick’s advice is to “build it up slowly, listen to your own body and don’t worry if you need to take breaks and rest.”
He is determined to be as active as possible so that he doesn’t become overly reliant on medical support. He has managed to bring down his medication by 25% and has been advised this is largely down to this healthy and active lifestyle.
“My lung capacity has gone from 60% to 80% thanks to my running”
Raising money for charity is really important to Nick. His garden marathon over lockdown raised over £1,000 for the NHS. Additionally, for one of his local marathons, he raised money for Pancreatic Cancer - for this run, he set off at 1.20am to ensure to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Nick has more goals he would like to achieve with his running. The lockdown prevented Nick and his friend from running the whole of the South Downs Way over three days for the British Heart Foundation, but they are keen to reschedule this when restrictions ease. He has yet to run for sarcoidosis and is excited to run this year’s Virtual London Marathon for SarcoidosisUK, a charity so close to his heart - to help fund world-leading research into sarcoidosis, whilst providing support and quality information to those affected by the disease.