ELLICOTTVILLE, N.Y. — A Southern Tier man has quite the physical and mental challenge ahead of him as he prepares to run more miles in three days than some people drive all month long.
Bradley Poole, 33, aims to run 100 miles a day for three days, beginning June 9. It may sound crazy, but it's part of his mission to raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis.
He plans to run a four-mile loop through the Village of Ellicottville 75 times.
Poole has held various events to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the past, but he decided to go big in 2020. He ran 266 miles through every town in Cattaraugus County in one week and raised $65,000.
Impressive? Absolutely! But Poole's 'go big or go home' attitude has him craving more attention — not for himself but for the foundation whose mission is to bring attention to a disease that affects him and so many others.
"In order to get better medications for us and treatments and eventually a cure, it has to come from donations," said Poole. "I got through it [last year] and raised a bunch of money. I was just thinking I've got to do something else because I feel like the bigger the event, the crazier the event the more awareness it's going to the cause you're supporting."
Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.
When Poole was a child, doctors told his parents they'd be lucky to see him turn 18. He wants other so-called CF warriors to see what's possible with proper treatments, advances in health care, and by pushing yourself to your limits, physically and mentally.
"I want people to see what is possible, especially those with CF, the younger generation. If you take good care of yourself, keep yourself healthy, do your treatments, listen to your doctors, listen to your parents, exercise. I'll be 34 in August. I wasn't so sure I would be running at this age," said Poole. "Just showing them that no matter how tough things get, if you keep pushing through, you can get through it. You just have to keep grinding."
Click here to donate to his Running for a Cure page.
The pandemic brought on extra anxiety for Poole because of his compromised lung function, but with the uncertainty and uneasiness of the past year, came some exciting moments.
He and his wife welcomed a baby girl in September, and he followed a longtime dream to open up his own gym. Warrior Fitness and Wellness in Ellicottville opened in January 2021.
"When you walk in these doors, no matter what your goals are, no matter what you may be going through, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to," said Poole.
While he's running, Poole said he thinks of others who aren't as lucky as he is.
"What's going through my head is all of those who are suffering from CF and those who don't even have the ability to get out there and to run or even walk ten feet without getting winded. I'm doing this for them. I am doing this for me," said Poole.
Poole also knows several young people who died from cystic fibrosis.
"It kind of hits home knowing I have the same disease that these people did, and they passed away from it already. Most people with CF don't live past 40. I think a lot about them when I am running," said Poole.