Stroke survivor Andrew Iselin is set to run the Gold Coast Marathon on Sunday 1 July and in doing so will break a world record. Here he shares with us his journey to Do it 4 Stroke.
My name is Andrew Iselin and I suffered a stroke in early 2009 when I was 17 years of age. My left vertebral artery was dissected and this caused the complete loss of movement to the right side of my body. I spent about two weeks in hospital where I tried to regain basic functions. After this I went into a rehabilitation unit where I spent about 6 weeks partaking in intensive rehab where I spent about an hour a day with the physios and occupational therapists, as well as constantly doing the exercises they gave me until I went to bed. I worked with them in learning to gain the function back in the right hand side of my body, where I learnt to crawl, walk, write, etc. Once I had exited the rehabilitation unit I was still visiting about twice a week until I started university midway through that year.
Since then I have been classified into athletes with a disability where I have competed three times at nationals with the hope of eventually making an Australian team for the 800m or 1500m events on the track. I did have my sights set on London 2012 but I came to the realisation that in order to make it I will have to train for longer and get more used to my disability. After my disappointment of not performing how I would have liked during the track season I was again looking over the world records for my classification which one-day I hope to be able to achieve. I decided out of interest to look at the marathon world record and when I did I realised that there had been no record set for my classification. This motivated me to set a world record for my classification. My training schedule has not changed greatly from what I would have been doing at this time of year in order to prepare for the next track season. I train 6 days a week, twice a day whilst completing three university subjects. The only difference now is I have picked up the kilometres so I will now do an average of 60km a week.
My main challenges facing me now when it comes to preparing for the marathon is making sure I listen to my body and don’t train to hard when I feel a small injury occurring. My aim is to run the marathon under four hours and hopefully the right side of my body will handle the distance. I know that I have the determination to finish the marathon; it all comes down to how fast I complete it. In running this marathon I want to raise as much money as I can for the National Stroke Foundation and I also hope my running of the marathon can help raise awareness of stroke and encourage people to seek out the warning signs of a stroke because as you can see a stroke can happen to anyone of any age, of any athletic ability. If I knew the warning signs my stroke could have been prevented.
To donate money and support Andrew in his amazing effort to break a world record visit his fundraising page: Andrew Islin
The National Stroke Foundation recommends that you seek the advice of a healthcare professional before embarking on any strenuous exercise.