By Dr. Nicholas Ashill
With less than a week before I leave for America, I am making final adjustments to training, logistics and chasing potential sponsors. The realization of what lies ahead of me has not yet hit home. Certainly nerves are starting to show and I am eager to get the first day of running behind me.
If you are not yet aware of this, my next big thing, well, I am doing this very serious ultra-marathon run from Los Angeles to New York in order to inspire people to dream big as well as to help families suffering from pulmonary fibrosis.
In April I spent time on the treadmill at the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine at Loughborough University. I met with Professor Laura-Anne Furlong and Research Associate Mathew Black, who will be studying my biomechanics over the 5,400km run. They completed some blood tests and generated a 3D video of my running.
The blue loopy shapes indicate the position of the markers Professor Furlong attached to my body. The ones highlighted are the ones on the outside of my little toe, the outside of my ankle and my knee (which are used for calculating ankle angle). Humans don’t do things the same way over and over so you can see subtle changes between each step. The graphs on the right are the position of these markers in 3D space.
The good news is that I can run!! The blood and breath analysis showed that I should not run faster than 12km/hour over the 5,400km and my required calorie intake will be 6,500 kcal/day.
So if all goes according to plan, I will start at 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 14, 2017 in front of Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. This is the very end of the famous Route 66. Am I prepared physically? I have no idea. I have trained hard over the past two years and I know I will have to dig deep to complete the 5,400km distance.
I am excited to see my father-in-law and eldest daughter next week. They will be members of my support crew. I am also excited about meeting individuals and families dealing with pulmonary fibrosis when I arrive in Los Angeles. Raising awareness of this illness globally is a major objective of my run.
Thank you American University of Sharjah friends, colleagues and students for your words of encouragement. You can follow my progress on Facebook and Instagram (@Nick.RunsAmerica). You are also welcome to check my website.
The talking is over. Let the running and mind games begin. Maybe I will reach New York and decide to run all the way back to Los Angeles! Now that would be something special!
Dr. Nicholas Ashill is a Professor of Marketing at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah.