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Running the 26-mile Boston marathon is not easy for even conditioned runners. For marathoner Mark Buschle of Fort Thomas, Ky., finishing the race will be a particularly meaningful accomplishment.

Marathoner with a message: You can do anything

27/Mar/2009

A RUNNER'S HIGH: From left, Wheeler, and Buschle

 Buschle has cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease that results in serious respiratory and digestive disorders. A life-threatening condition, CF affects the lungs, and often those with the condition find it difficult to breathe or exercise.

One of 13 children, Buschle has lost two siblings to CF – his brother Timmy at five days old and his sister Judy at 30 years old. Yet Buschle, a software engineer and married father of two, considers himself lucky. He began running less than a mile a day in 2005 to keep his lungs healthy and gradually worked his way up to 26 miles. He completed his first marathon – the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio – last year.

"I really want to show the CF community that you can do anything if you put your mind to it," says Buschle. "I’m 37, but I shouldn’t be, so it’s a better use of my time to run and raise awareness about CF rather than worry about it. I want to show people that CF is not a death sentence."

Buschle trains regularly with his Flying Pig Marathon team, coached by Wayne Wheeler.On average, he runs five days a week with long runs each Saturday.

"Running does help my breathing," he says. "I believe it’s what has helped keep my pulmonary function scores stable over the past three years."

Buschle’s biggest concern for the marathon is staying hydrated, since as a result of CF, he has an abnormally low level of sodium in his blood. But this is not deterring him from the race. In fact, not only is Buschle training for the Boston marathon, but he also will be taking on the Flying Pig Marathon once again only two weeks afterward.

Buschle plans to reach his fundraising goals of $3,000 for the MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Cystic Fibrosis Program and $1,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “Part of me wants to get the word out about CF and part of me wants to raise as much money as we can,”

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