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266 Miles for Cystic Fibrosis

Bradley Poole prepares for his biggest challenge to date: running 266 miles in 7 days to raise money and awareness for CF

When Salamanca resident Bradley Poole was born, the doctors told his parents he’d be lucky to see age 18. At six days old, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), a rare hereditary disease that damages the lungs and digestive system. Poole turns 33 years old in August, and he’s doing everything he can to stay healthy and strong to reach the age of 40, an age which fewer than five percent of individuals with CF reach. You could say that Poole is running for his life.

Poole said, “A few years ago, I caught a bad cold while I was finishing up my degree in college. My lung function kept dropping.” Poole was hospitalized for a week, underwent therapy multiple times a day, and was treated with intravenous antibiotics. Over the years, Poole has been hospitalized seven times due to declining lung function, and he realized he needed to try something new.

“I started running three years ago,” he explained. “Before that, I was just lifting weights—no cardio. I was training for three months and decided to do a half marathon. I went big with that first one! After I did that, I just became addicted to running. My lung function came up, and ever since that first half marathon, I’ve kept doing more and more races.”

Soon, Poole will be taking on his biggest challenge to date: running 266 miles in seven days to raise money and awareness for CF, for which there is no government funding and no cure. Businesses and individuals can sponsor Poole, who will run the perimeter of the county beginning in Ellicottville on Sunday, July 5. Poole will end the day in the town of Freedom in the upper right corner of the county. Beginning Monday, he will run through Yorkshire, Ashford, East Otto, Otto, Albion and end in Cattaraugus.

On Tuesday, Poole will run through Persia, Gowanda, Perrysburg, Dayton, Leon and end the day in Conewango. On Wednesday, he’ll leave Conewango and head to Randolph, South Valley, Coldspring and Little Valley.   On Thursday, Poole will head to Salamanca, Red House, Carrollton and end in Allegany. On Friday, he’ll run through Olean, Portville, Hinsdale, Ischua, Lyndon and Humphrey. On Saturday, Poole will conclude the last 14 miles of his run by running through Great Valley and end in Ellicottville.

Poole said that his original plan was to camp each night and start running in the morning. However, due to limited camping and public facilities as a result of COVID-19, Poole will be picked up at the end of each day and driven home to sleep. In the morning, he will be driven to the location where he left off on the previous day.

For the past seven years, Poole has been raising money for CF research, as there are medications being developed to help those with CF live a longer life. “I do treatments daily,” he explained. “I wear a vest, an airway clearance system, three times a day for 30 minutes at a time. I do three different nebulizers daily. Then, I take fifty-plus pills daily.” These treatments help clear Poole’s lungs of mucus build-up, but he must take extra measures to treat the other effects of CF.

“Lots of people with CF struggle to keep weight on because it affects the digestive system as well,” Poole explained. “I eat a high-fat and calorie diet, and I keep up with the running, too.” He has also devoted his career to helping others with their own fitness goals, as he owns Bradley Poole Health & Fitness and trains clients at Ellicottville’s Core Performance Fitness Center.

“With this run, I want to do something that’s going to challenge me physically and mentally. I want to inspire and motivate people with CF or those struggling mentally,” he added. Poole was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, which running has also helped him manage.

There are approximately 15 runners who are splitting up days and times to run with Poole so that he always has a partner. Anyone who wishes can create a team of five people to raise money for the event and run with Poole when he passes through their town. One mile is $500, two miles is $750 and three or more miles is $1,000 per team. To sign up for a team or make an individual donation in any amount, visit 266 Miles for Cystic Fibrosis: Running for a Cure (@266forCF) on Facebook. There, people can donate directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s western NY chapter.

Poole is grateful for the support of his friends and family, especially his wife, Stephanie, trainer Mark Wilson of Cassadaga, who is helping him prepare for the run, and his sponsors Ellicottville Distillery and the Jamestown Cycle Shop.