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Music inspires US medical student on global running mission

Nick Stukel recently completed the Antarctica Marathon on his journey. Next stop… Gold Coast Airport Marathon! (Photo courtesy of Nick Stukel)

By Olivia Edwards

Nick Stukel is a 27-year-old medical student from Washington in the United States chasing marathons around the seven continents of the world and the Gold Coast Airport Marathon is on his list.

It is all part of a campaign he founded in 2013 called Strums & Strides to raise money to improve music programs in hospitals.

The Strums & Strides initiative is centered around Nick’s aim to become the first medical student to run a marathon on all seven continents.

With the cause promoting the healing power of music, Nick’s goal is to raise 15,000 USD by his final marathon in October.

Nick started working on the initiative after his grandfather was ill and started improving by listening to music. This convinced Nick that music could play an important role in healthcare.

“After watching my grandfather suffer from a severe stroke, I started Strums & Strides during my first year of medical school to bring attention to the role that music can play in the healing process,” Nick said.

“New research is continually reinforcing this idea showing that music helps with everything from patient outlook and mood, to decreased pain and healing times.

“Strums & Strides is an intersection of three of my greatest passions – music, medicine and running.”

With a goal of simply crossing the finish line, he pushes through leg cramps and knee and hip pain to ensure he always finishes the race.

After recently completing the Antarctica marathon and victory in the under 40 category, Nick is looking forward to the Gold Coast Airport Marathon on Sunday 2 July.

“I am most excited to run with thousands of people and have lots of crowd support,” Nick said.

“Many of my other races have been small with anywhere from 50 to 100 runners and very limited crowd support, so I’m looking forward to the energy of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon!”

Having such a large task ahead of him, Nick has a unique way of keeping motivated when running his marathons.

“One of the main ways I get through each marathon is by writing reminders of people, places and experiences on my hand with permanent marker before the race.

“When I am struggling, I look down at my hand and focus on one of the reminders – that helps me get through.”

With the Gold Coast Airport Marathon to be the second last marathon on his path of completing a marathon on the seven continents, Nick is well on his way to becoming one of the youngest people accomplish this.

“I’m just a city guy who grew up on a farm as well as a future doctor who secretly wants to be a touring musician and is obsessed with exploring all corners of the world.”

27,000 runners will take part in the 2017 Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

The 39th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held on Saturday 1 and 2 July.

Set to attract more than 27,000 participants of all ages and abilities, this year’s race program will feature the Gold Coast Airport Marathon over 42.2km, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run 5.7km Challenge, Zespri 4km Junior Dash and Zespri 2km Junior Dash.

For the fourth year, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon has been awarded an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label.