It has been a landmark year for Michael Green.
The avid runner from Liverpool, UK, turned 50 last month and celebrated the milestone a few weeks earlier by running the TCS London Marathon for the eighth time as part of the AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships.
With a personal best in London in 2021 of 2:53:43, Michael placed 154th in his age group, which is all the more remarkable as he suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints.
The condition is more common among men and usually begins in early adulthood.
Michael was keen to not be confined by his condition so with guidance from his physician, he’s spent time finding ways to adapt and live more comfortably with it.
“I was diagnosed with the condition in 2018. I suffer in my hip joint, but it most commonly occurs in the back. Stretching has become a crucial part of my life (like most runners I did not do enough before) and it really helps,” he says.
These changes don’t keep the condition completely at bay for the father of two, and regular flare-ups have affected his training over the last four years, but the discomfort is eased for Michael through consistent movement and exercise.
“I am glad to be a runner! I have always run, and though I might not be as fast as I used to be, it is a massive part of how I function so keeping myself in good condition is essential.”
Researching more about the condition and making changes to his lifestyle, Michael has learned his personal diet has a big impact on the inflammation caused by ankylosing spondylitis.
“By avoiding gluten, highly processed foods, and starch-based foods, I have noticed a big difference. No pasta for me anymore but it’s worth it.”
As Michael enters his 50s, he is enjoying the challenge of age group running and encourages others to do the same. “You are never too old to challenge yourself in running. I know that at some stage I will stop getting faster, so I am looking forward to competing in my new age category and taking on new races and challenges for many years to come.”
“You are never too old to challenge yourself in running. I know that at some stage I will stop getting faster, so I am looking forward to competing in my new age category and taking on new races and challenges for many years to come.”
*Always consult a physician and get a full health evaluation prior to marathon training. Even if athletes appear healthy after treatment or surgery, or to have a disorder under control, underlying medical conditions could exist.
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