Dr. Ken Campbell

UK physiologist runs 5k for 1,000 straight days to support heart care

On Saturday, Aug. 26, a crowd gathered to watch Dr. Ken Campbell run his 1,000th 5k in as many days. About 20 people joined Dr. Campbell on his run to help celebrate his achievement.

Dr. Ken Campbell

Dr. Ken Campbell

Campbell, a UK physiologist and researcher, began his running streak on Dec. 1, 2014, and has run at least five kilometers each day since then. He has logged miles through days of work, travel and sickness. He has continued his streak on the UK campus, in his neighborhood in Lexington, and around the world, including Australia, Britain, Mexico and New Zealand. When there was no other option, he ran on a treadmill in the Johnson Center.

Raising money for patient groups and research

It all began as a way to raise awareness and funds for UK HealthCare’s ventricular assist device (VAD) and transplant support group and the Campbell Muscle Laboratory.

Through his research, Campbell has developed a relationship with Heart to Heart (the UK HealthCare Cardiothoracic Transplant/VAD Support Group), which offers support to patients and families of patients who have undergone a heart transplant or the implantation of a VAD. VADs are mechanical pumps that support blood flow in weakened hearts. Donations to Campbell’s cause benefit both the patient support group and student-driven research at the Campbell Muscle Lab.

Campbell’s running highlights the importance of the work he and his team are doing. His group at the Campbell Muscle Lab study the causes of cardiac failure, and his run streak will also help raise money for important research that benefits heart patients at UK.

Ending the amazing streak

After 1,000 days, Campbell is ending his run streak. He will no longer feel the need to rise at 3 a.m. on travel days or go out in the rain just to make sure he gets a run in.

“I’m really pleased at the turnout we had today,” he said after his run on Saturday. “We had this mixture of scientists and clinicians from all levels, from lab staff to the chief of Cardiovascular Medicine. We’re all coming together to push forward research and the care of our patients.”

Dr. Ken Campbell and his supporters

Dr. Ken Campbell and a group of supporters celebrate his 1,000th consecutive day running five kilometers.


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