I would like to tell you my personal story, which
began 46 years ago in Denmark.
I was born with the disease asthma. It gave me a hard time when I was a child.
I could hardly run or even walk – and I was always nuisance with my asthma.
I developed a spiteful attitude to all kind of sports
– and I became someone who never watched sports or participated in any form at
all. I became an intellectual type and concentrated on my studies.
The years passed – and at one night, 13 years ago, I
was sitting with my wife’s brother (Flemming Mathiesen) at my home and we had
been drinking a lot of wine until we were drunk.
Suddenly he started to talk about a marathon he ran
for the first time in Berlin!
He knew my attitude to all kinds of sports but he went on – he did not tell
much – but one sentence was repeated in my head over and over again that night
and the following days– and it was the fact that everybody can participate in a
marathon!!!! You just have to register and then you are welcome to try to win
the race, and everybody accepts your participation!!!!
Then I started running and I decided that I would take
part in Berlin
at the BERLIN-MARATHON in 1995!
People were laughing at me – in a good way – and no one
believed that I would succeed because I had a lot of trouble with my health. My
asthma was getting worse, and I had to take more and more medicine. My lung
function was getting worse as well. I could feel that I was getting weaker and
weaker and I had to do something. I was 33 years-old and physically I felt like
a 99 year-old men!
So I began to run by my self – quiet and easy – step
by step. I was also too fat and I had to loose 15 kg –
and to stop smoking also!!! It was quite a challenge for me.
I knew at this time, that my lung function was reduced
by 25 - 30 % while I had to take my medicine, so I just had to take it easy.
So in 1995 I ran together with Flemming Mathiesen the BERLIN-MARATHON.
Flemming had run about 3 marathons at that time (all in Berlin)
and he could give me some advises. It was my first Marathon.
We decided to run two marathons a year - we ran one in
the spring, the Hamburg Marathon, and one in the fall, the BERLIN-MARATHON.
Sometimes I still have problems with my lungs, but
today I am a healthy man who decided to run marathons for the rest of his life.
Every year I register for the marathon, but I am very sensitive, so sometimes I
am ill and cannot participate. Nevertheless I am driving to Berlin
every year and if I cannot participate I watch the race and cheer and shout for
the runners. Meanwhile we are about 15 men from my family and friends, who run
marathon together! And we have a lot of fun!
It is possible to run a marathon even your odds is not
very good. The healthy benefits from running cannot be overestimated. I suggest
that handicapped runners (like me) can maybe run with a special coloured bib number
(something like the “Jubilee-club”), so everyone can see that this runner has a
handicap – and a handicap of some value – but he/she ‘just does it’ anyway –
even it is much harder for this person and even it takes 5 – 6 hours. I think
this could inspire some people with a handicap– and this will encourage others
to do the same. Asthma is becoming a national disease – and once again – the
healthy benefits from running are very big for the asthmatics.FRANK KJAER