After his father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease in 2017, Russell Boyd decided to go ‘the extra mile’ and ran the 2018 New York Marathon, raising a substantial amount of money for Parkinson’s Support Fermanagh in the process.

Originally from Fivemiletown, but currently living in Dubai, Russell travelled to New York to complete the marathon last November, raising £6,000 for the local charity.

A keen competitor in ‘Iron Man’ triathlons and other sporting events, Russell decided to take on New York Marathon as it is “one of the most famous marathons.”

When asked about his training regime in preparation for the New York Marathon, Russell explained that due to work commitments he wasn’t able to train as much as he usually would for such an event.

“To be honest, it probably wasn’t the time I was looking for as I would usually go faster but just due to work commitments.

“I was very busy with my job,” said Russell.

He added: “I had to do some training, but it wasn’t the training regime I would usually set.

“I was doing it for charity this time so I wasn’t doing it for personal goal.”

Commenting that he had seen a great difference from training in Dubai to running the marathon in New York, due to the differing temperatures of the two locations.

Russell added: “Even though it was wintertime in Dubai, it was still pretty hot compared to the weather in New York.

“Whenever I was running that particular day it was very very cold, the temperatures are a little bit different,” said Russell.

“The cold air does take your breath away a bit but it is quite fresh, I suppose there’s pluses and minuses but it was a great event,” he added.

Talking about the supportive attitude of the Americans who were spectating and how that greatly encouraged him as he ran the marathon, Russell said: “I put my nickname ‘Rusty’ on my running vest to get local support, the Americans sometimes get bad press in regards to being a bit loud and annoying but whenever you are running x amount of miles or kilometres, the shouting and the noise does really really help.”

Having chosen to raise money for Parkinson’s Support Fermanagh, Russell commented on how being part of the local group has benefited his father.

“He meets the group once a month and this allows him to get out to socialise with people.

“He gets involved in activities such as singing which helps people with Parkinson’s,” said Russell.

“It’s nice for my mum as well to go out and speak to other people because the sufferers are quite quiet so it’s nice for my mum to just get out and speak to people as well.”

Speaking highly of Myrtle Hemphill, the secretary of Parkinson’s Support Fermanagh, Russell said: “She is a great ambassador in the sense that she really pushes the Parkinson’s group forward, particularly for Fermanagh, she does a really really good job.”

He added: “You have to support people who have the key drive to try and make everyone aware and make some fun events for those who unfortunately have got that disease.”