Iron­man for Asthma

Element - - Cover Story -

To cel­e­brate his 40th birth­day, Auck­land-based triath­lete, and asth­matic, Alis­tair Harsant is com­pet­ing in the 2013 Iron­man.

An asthma suf­ferer since he was a baby, Alis­tair’s per­sis­tent cough­ing led to an op­er­a­tion in his early child­hood to rec­tify a dou­ble her­nia.

Alis­tair’s par­ents al­ways en­cour­aged him to re­main ac­tive. His first triathlon taster was in 1999, and in 2005 he made the NZ Age Group Team, rac­ing in Honolulu. This year he com­pleted his first full sea­son of rac­ing.

Be­tween 2006 and 2009, Alis­tair’s asthma de­te­ri­o­rated when he stopped com­pet­ing and he gained 20 ki­los. “My med­i­ca­tion wasn’t help­ing and I re­alised that do­ing triathlons made me the health­i­est I’ve ever been.” Chang­ing his diet and get­ting back into sport helped him slim down, re­gain his fit­ness, and take con­trol over asthma.

Be­ing an asth­matic means he needs to take care with the change of sea­sons (and the en­su­ing in­flux of pollen), and get a good warm up be­fore events.

Alis­tair is adamant that ex­er­cis­ing is a key part of asthma man­age­ment, and is a huge ad­vo­cate for ex­er­cise. “Find a sport or ac­tiv­ity you en­joy and ease into it. If you en­joy that ac­tiv­ity you’re go­ing to want to do it more, even when you’re not feel­ing too well be­cause of your asthma.”

And find­ing mo­ti­va­tion is es­sen­tial. “Be­ing able to be an ac­tive part of my fam­ily is im­por­tant to me be­cause they are the most im­por­tant part of my life.”

Alis­tair’s Iron­man chal­lenge will raise funds for the Asthma Foun­da­tion. Keep an eye on Alis­tair’s train­ing, and share your own ex­pe­ri­ences, on the Iron­man for Asthma Face­book Page. To do­nate head to www.fundraiseon­

Photo: Ted Baghurst.

Pre­vi­ous page and above: Alas­tair Harsant is in train­ing to run the 2013 Iron­man.

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