ELLICOTTVILLE — Bradley Poole has been preparing for the run of his lifetime.
Through July 11, the local fitness trainer will be running 266 miles across Cattaraugus County to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Western New York Chapter, and awareness about the disease.
Taking on a 266-mile trek will be an amazing feat for Poole because he was born with cystic fibrosis (CF), which is an inherited life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system. With the assistance of running coach Mark Wilson, of Cassadaga, Poole is facing his biggest challenge yet and has been preparing for the run since last September.
The Salamanca resident said he plans to run through every town in the county to raise $100,000 for CF research. He will run about 42 miles a day for the first six days, then 14 miles on the last day. His trek will begin at 5 a.m. each morning and end around noon or 1 p.m.
“I’m not running alone. I’ll have two or three runners with me every day,” he said. “I have a total of 15 runners that will rotate, in and out, just to make sure I’m safe out there.”
Poole’s journey will start and end in Ellicottville at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel. His run kicked off Sunday and will wrap up Saturday. On July 5, he headed for Franklinville, Machias, Farmersville and Freedom.
On July 6, he will run through Yorkshire, Ashford, East Otto, Otto, New Albion and Cattaraugus. On July 7, he will run through Persia, Gowanda, Perrysburg, Dayton, Leon and Conewango. On July 8 he will pass through Randolph, South Valley, Coldspring, Napoli, New Albion and Little Valley. On July 9, he will run through Salamanca, Red House, Carrollton and Allegany.
His run will continue July 10 as he makes his way through Allegany, Olean, Portville, Hinsdale, Ischua, Lyndon, Franklinville and Humphrey. Poole will complete the final leg of his journey on July 11, passing through Great Valley before finishing back in Ellicottville.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Poole will not be camping overnight along the way. Instead, he will be picked up at the end of his run each day and driven home to sleep. The following morning, he will be driven back to the location where he left off to start up his run again.
A celebration event will be held at 5 p.m. July 11 at the Ellicottville Distillery. Tickets are $10 per person and children under 5 are free. They may be pre-ordered or purchased at the door. There will be food and fun with live entertainment provided by the Salamanca band Synner. The $10 will go directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Western New York Chapter.
Poole said he wanted to do something challenging and he loves running, so his sister suggested he run through every town in Cattaraugus County which, he thought, was a great idea and began training for it.
“The 266 miles came from Chris Holewinski, GIS coordinator for the county,” he said. “I met with him and told him what I wanted to do. He set up a route that would allow me to hit every single town in the county and it came out to be 266 miles.”
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CF is a rare, progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe. In people with CF, a defective gene causes a thick, sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs which, over time, destroys organs and causes organ failure.
The 32-year-old warrior who battles cystic fibrosis every day of his life said most people with CF don’t live past 40 years of age. In order to have a chance at surviving past that life expectancy, Poole is required to do two hours of breathing treatments every day, take 50-plus pills daily, use multiple nebulizers throughout the day, and exercise religiously six days a week.
In addition, he wears a high-frequency chest wall oscillation vest two hours each day that shakes the chest to loosen and thin dangerous mucus buildup.
Poole, who owns Bradley Poole Health & Fitness, is an independent contractor and trains people at Core Performance Fitness in Ellicottville. For the past seven years, he’s been raising money for the cause through a variety of area fundraising events. He said CF gets no government funding and it’s crucial to raise money so researchers can develop life-prolonging medications.
“Along with raising funds and awareness about the disease, I also hope to inspire the younger generation who are fighting cystic fibrosis and show people what can be accomplished if they focus and put their mind to something,” he said.
Poole said he is thankful for all the support he has been given from friends, family and the people who have been donating to the CF cause. He said it means a lot for him and all others who are fighting this disease. His biggest supporters are his wife, Stephanie; their nephew, Elijah; and his sponsors, Ellicottville Distillery and the Jamestown Cycle Shop.
Anyone who would like to support Poole in his effort may donate by finding his event, “266 Miles for Cystic Fibrosis: Running for a Cure,” online at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website, passion.cff.org, or on Facebook at “266 Miles for Cystic Fibrosis: Running for a Cure” (@266forCF). For more information on Cystic Fibrosis, visit cff.org.