Asthma UK community forum

So, my chronically asthmatic daughter is running the London marathon

Is she mad?

How can I help her?

She's had several admissions this year due to her asthma but she is determined to run it. She has a charity place for Help the Hospice, a cause very close to her heart after a very special little girl called Chelsey who my daughter used to babysit died in our local children's hospice in Feb this year.

I am very worried about her even attempting this to be honest but she is a) an adult who is able to make her own decisions (she's 21) and b) is very fit, she's a county standard swimmer.

Are there any chronic asthmatics on here who run? Can you offer us some pointers?


8 Replies

I don't really run but there is several people on here who do if you search. Also, there is info from Asthma UK on exercise and asthma


Wow, good on her!

I can't offer any advise - but would like to ask has she set up a 'just giving' / 'virgin money giving' account for online sponsorship? If so could you post the link so I could sponsor her?



A little bit of madness can be good!

As long as she is sensible, and checks that her consultant thinks that it is a good idea.

I used to be a swimmer too (there are a few of us on here). I recently tried to do the Great Scottish Swim (2km in open water - 12.8 degree water), and had to be rescued and ended up having a neb in the first aid tent. The paramedic told me I was stupid to think that I would ever be able to do it!! I'm not sure it was stupid but maybe I have to be a bit more realistic in the future maybe stick to the pool.

If she gets the go ahead from her consultant then she needs to take it slowly and not be obsessed with times and distances. In can be hard for us sporty competitive people to not 'compete' with ourselves. She also needs to realise that depending on how her health is her goals may change.

How can you help? You could always go running with her (you could go on a bike and carry the drink etc.) and make sure she is going nice and slowly.



She is indeed MAD!!!

I'm sorry i can't offer any advice (the furthest i've ever run is 10k and am intending to do it again in november) but i thought i'd offer her my best wishes and i hope she does really well :-)


I will be getting on my bike to go with her on training runs (just to make sure she has access to her inhaler if nothing else) at least I'll get fitter too.

She does have a JustGiving page or you can text CATH47 and the amount you want to donate to 70070 (JustTextGiving), thank you Em.

Thank you everyone.


I have asthma and last weekend I completed my 19th marathon which was also my first 50km Ultra event. So far three marathons have been affected by my asthma that required me to stop to recover or receive first aid, they have either been during a hot day with high pollution or when I was pushing myself hard to get a good time. The last time was in November last year when I ran the New York marathon and the cold affected me but in spite of spending 20minutes in the first aid tent and then walk/jogging the last 10miles I still made it round in 4:01.

There are lots of elite marathon runners who have asthma such as Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebreselassie. Haile has pulled out of races because of his asthma or air pollution concerns but both have held marathon world records. I have ran London 4 times before and never had a problem due to air pollution or the weather. As it is such a big event the first aid support is exceptional so there should be no concerns during the event.

My concern would be during the training runs that she may suffer an attack whilst running alone with no one to help her especially when the weather is cold in February. I recommend that she joins a running club and finds other people who are training for a Spring marathon who can join her on the long runs also 20mile+ runs alone can be boring with no one to talk to and they can help her with a appropriate training schedule. Also when she wants to push herself in training then enter some longer distance races, eg a 10mile race in January 18km in February and 20mile in March. There are loads held nationally especially to prepare for spring marathons and it means they are well supported with drink stations and first aiders.

Next year I am turning 35 and becoming a veteran so I have decided to run 5 of the World Marathon Majors (Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York) in the same year. I have decided to run to raise money for Asthma UK but also as someone who teaches sports to young people I want to be able to inspire them that in spite of having asthma it shouldn't restrict you in participating in sport.

If your daughter is a county standard swimmer I have no doubt that she will be able to run a marathon. Its just a case of listening to her own body when she runs and if she has to walk the last 10miles that's fine. Also everyone acts like London is the only marathon to run. It isn't. My pet moan is people who are injured or have chest infections the week before a marathon and think they still get round. Marathons are stressful on he body without it already being weak from a recent illness. You can always defer you London place till next year when you have been able to train properly and there are marathons held every weekend which you can enter when your body has got over your chest infections. In fact I love getting a budget airline flight to a European city for a long marathon weekend break/race.

Good luck to her, she'll love it then probably get hooked on running marathons too.


Jo_S, thank you so much for your reply. I will make sure she never runs alone, me or her lovely long term boyfriend will accompany her (on a bike in my case) and I'm sure her little brother could easily be roped in too. She actually went out for her first training run the other day, it was only 3 miles but at a much slower pace than she'd usually run (she wasa triathlete too but always struggled in the run with her asthma or her knee) and apart from her usual pre-training inhaler she manage dthe whole run inhaler-free which has never, ever happened before.

Maybe it's not as daft an idea as I thought. Maybe endurance events are better suited to her?

Her consultant wants her to do methacholine challenge sometime in the next few weeks and another test that she can't remember the name of as when she had her appointment today her peak flow was 102% of her predicted reading and her lung function was 128%.


Is she mad? - yes, probably! ;-)

Jo_S has already given a lot of good advice regarding marathon running. Looking at your profile, your daughter is on a similar level of medication to me - and I ran my third London Marathon in April this year (without ever putting myself in hospital!). You're right in that endurance events are probably more suited to people with asthma - certainly, I find that. Sprints are definitely out for me!

Running seems to impact more on asthma than swimming or cycling, IMO. Your daughter may find that she needs to run a lot slower initially than she thinks she is able to - and certainly, a slow, thorough warm-up is essential (especially now that we're approaching the colder weather). I have been known to warm up for 10 mins on the cross-trainer inside (or by running up and down the stairs!) before going out for a run, when it's really cold. Making sure she's always got her inhaler on her is important - you can get waist belts with pouches on to carry such items, as well as drinks bottles. Make sure, if she's going out on her own, that she's got her mobile phone on her as well.

My mum was more than slightly alarmed when I told her I was running my first marathon - I think it's a mother's job! It's only natural that you're going to worry, but hopefully hearing these stories from asthmatic runners will help a little.



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