As some of you may know, I have lived with asthma throughout my entire life and have recently experienced a long extended period of time with extremely bad health due to the condition of my asthma.

Throughout my childhood I had regular visits to the hospital with severe asthma attacks. These would often occur at the worst possible moment, when on a family holiday or celebrating Christmas. However I never wanted this to stop me from participating in all the sports that I loved as a kid. 

With the right balance of medication and advice from my GP and respiratory specialists I have managed to continue with a normal balanced life.

In my first year of secondary school in 2006, I started rowing for my school and local club and have been competing at an extremely high level ever since. Having achieved multiple National and North Island Championship titles in the sport and a number of New Zealand representative teams, it had been difficult to manage having a very long extended period of time with extremely bad health due to the condition of my asthma.

After returning home from a post run holiday in Melbourne after completing the Auckland Marathon in 2018, I was hospitalised on numerous occasions with ongoing asthma symptoms for months on end. After multiple GP, A&E and specialist visits the issue was eventually resolved after a long period of treatments.

The diagnosis was linked to a combination of a strong virus and the particular pollen that can be found in Melbourne. We experienced a pollen storm on my first night in Melbourne followed by thunder storms a few days later and the combination of these two are the likely cause for the ongoing trouble I went through. That's what the specialist thought anyway after some research.

After going through this tough time in my life, I decided it would be a great idea to set a goal to run the Auckland Marathon again, especially having struggled through the recent rowing season with below par health. 

This will help me to improve my own health and run for a great cause by fundraising for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ.

After finishing 28th overall last year in a time of 2:49:48 that well exceeded my expectations, I have set the bar extremely high for myself going into my second attempt.

The Auckland Marathon is on Sunday 20 October 2019, and so I will be training throughout winter with both rowing and running in preparation for this event and any other sporting events I may be pursuing this year.

You can follow my progress on my everydayhero fundraising page: https://aucklandmarathon2019.everydayhero.com/nz/wuke-watts

Can you help other New Zealanders with a respiratory condition?

Sadly, many New Zealanders are affected by respiratory disease. One in six New Zealanders have a respiratory condition. Respiratory illness is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand.

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