Colm Murphy. Colm was diagnosed with severe asthma at just 8 years old, a condition which affected him greatly throughout his life. Growing up, Colm often avoided taking part in competitive sports, as well as endurance sports, as he felt he would not be able to keep up with his friends because of his asthma.
“For years having asthma prevented me from engaging in sports. Part of it was the physical problems, I’d run out of breath sooner than my friends. When I had an attack it was embarrassing and I would need my inhaler to recover. This became a psychological problem later, as I was generally too worried and too unconfident (to take part in sporting activities)”
After struggling for many years with his condition, Colm decided he no longer wanted his asthma to control his life and define his future. Asthma can be a very debilitating condition, however it is also an extremely manageable condition once you are given the right advice and support; just like the support given via our Asthma Adviceline service which the Asthma Society provides free to members of the Irish public. Colm decided to set a goal for himself; before he turned 30 years old, he wanted to complete a marathon.
“I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want (asthma) to define my life. I decided I wanted to run a marathon before the age of 30, and (with that decision) I took up running”
With the correct planning, preparation and training, Colm was able to complete in not just one marathon, but now at age 29, Colm has completed 5 marathons in Dublin, Tralee and Cork. After this incredible achievement, Colm noticed an improvement in his physical health, and also felt emotionally and mentally more confident. As a child, asthma had limited him not only physically but emotionally. He often feared taking part in sporting events with friends in case he was not able to keep up; now he felt completely different.
“Asthma posed a significant challenge to get fit, but this challenge was not insurmountable. I lost a lot of weight, my lung capacity increased, and I just had more energy all the time. Taking up exercise gave me the confidence I needed to play sports with friends, knowing that I could keep up with them”
Since taking control of his asthma, Colm has taken his training to another level and set an even more challenging goal. Colm is planning to compete in an ‘Ironman Triathlon’ in 2017. The ‘Ironman Triathlon’ consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. Colm has obviously come a long way on his journey; after some guidance, support and commitment, Colm has taken complete control of his asthma. From someone who once avoided physical activity at all costs due to fear and anxiety, to becoming someone who is training for the world’s toughest physical challenge is an incredible achievement, and proves that asthma does not need to control you and your life. With the proper management plan in place, anyone can live a full and active life, symptom free.
“Don’t let it prevent you from living the life you want to live. There will be bad days, but in the long run there will be a lot more good than bad. I also can’t recommend exercise enough, as the health benefits, both physical and psychological, are phenomenal”