Meet John, an IgA Nephropathy sufferer who has raised nearly $3,000 by taking part in a Tough Mudder for the National Kidney Foundation. We spoke to John to hear his inspiring story.
What inspired you to enter Tough Mudder?
I suffer from IgA Nephropathy, a disease that leads to IgA deposits building up in my kidneys, causing inflammation. In the summer of 2014, I received a shock to the system at one of my regular check ups when I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. I was determined to prevent it from worsening, so I began a running regimen. The results were fantastic – I lost fifty pounds, and my BMI dropped from ‘obese’ to normal levels.
What did you do to prepare for Tough Mudder?
However, it wasn’t enough. My December 2015 lab work continued to show both an elevated creatinine level and A1C count. It was time to take things to the next level. In January I began a weekly workout program with the goal of participating in the Vermont Tough Mudder in June.
How did you train for Tough Mudder?
I knew Tough Mudder would be the biggest physical challenge I’d ever faced, so my training had to reflect that. I started attending an intense four-month program of Sunday morning hill training sessions specifically geared for building endurance and strength. But would that be enough? Being 58 and not wanting to take any chances, I added in several Wednesday solo sessions on those hills as well. It was tough, but I knew that every extra mile I put in would be more than worth it come race day.
How did raising money affect your Tough Mudder experience?
It was so inspiring to know that doing Tough Mudder was not only improving my health, but also allowing the National Kidney Foundation to help other people like me. My friends were all so generous, and donated to help me raise $2,900 for the National Kidney Foundation in conjunction with my Tough Mudder participation.
How did Tough Mudder training improve your health?
With the help of my trainers and my teammates, I successfully finished the Tough Mudder. It’s an experience I will never forget. Shortly after that, my doctor reported back to me on my most recent lab work. We were both amazed at the results. My A1C and creatinine were both back to normal, and my doctor called the improvement in my good to bad cholesterol ratio ‘remarkable’. My cardiovascular risk levels were also greatly reduced.
What’s next as a Tough Mudder?
I’m determined that these improvements won’t be temporary. I’m now more dedicated than ever to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and what better way to do that than by preparing for my next Tough Mudder later this year.