Long-distance runner and COPD patient Russell Winwood recently completed the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon, the third on his bucket list of six marathons across the world.
Imagine breathing through a straw for a day; it sounds difficult, doesn’t it? Now imagine running a marathon with this type of lung capacity; it doesn’t sound possible, does it? In 2011, Australian Russell Winwood was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a chronic inflammatory lung disease causing obstructed airflow from the lungs. About a year after his diagnoses, Russell completed his first full Ironman Triathlon race.
An avid cyclist, marathon runner and downright inspiring individual, Winwood’s drive and determination to continue competing in events keeps him motivated. He lives by the four pillars of COPD: knowledge, medication, nutrition and exercise. As you can imagine, exercise is a key component to not only managing his COPD but also a critical component to being a successful athlete. This calls for rigorous training four times a week, mostly running but he also incorporates stretching and strength routines as well.
Russell has parlayed his athletic success into something even more important, serving as an advocate for COPD patients to keep active to better manage their condition, “It’s extremely important for (COPD) patients to get out and be active,” says Winwood.
For any person living with COPD, monitoring oxygen saturation during exercise is critical, Winwood says, “I rely on my wrist-worn pulse oximeter to monitor my oxygen levels while racing. I need something durable with measurements I can trust, for me that’s a Nonin WristOx 3150 given to me by Device Technologies here in Australia.”
Russell competed in triathlons from 2012 to 2015, since then he has focused his attention on marathon running. He has set a goal to complete the world marathon challenge, which involves racing in London, New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Boston and Chicago. He has completed London, New York and most recently the 2018 Boston Marathon where he counted on the Nonin WristOx 3150 to track his oxygen saturation levels and heart rate.
Winwood is a major inspiration to people around the world, with and without COPD. His perseverance has motivated many other COPD patients to manage their condition with daily activity, while providing hope for a more normal life. You can read more about Russell and his story at www.copdathlete.com.