WRITTEN BY: KATE DZIENIS
IMAGE: SUZANNE POLI
MEET FELIX, WHERE HE’S MORE THAN JUST…FELIX
To the average adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, forms of physical activity may take a back seat to almost all other activities. Studies have shown, though, that exercise is as important to the brain as it is to the rest of the body’s physicality, and it can change the brain’s neurotransmitters, protein growth and neurogenesis. Kate Dzienis got an insight into the world of ADHD whilst speaking with Andrew ‘Felix’ Polifrom Ellenbrook, WA who lives with the diagnosis and explains how he manages trail running, race directing, and living life to its fullest potential.
There’s always been something about Andrew Poli that draws people to instantly think he’s quirky and unconventional. Felix, as he’s widely known in his social circles, has a heart of gold – always raising his hand to help in times of need, whether it be pacing a fellow runner he’s never met, joining you on a recovery run, volunteering last minute if the time arises, and having a good ol’ chat full of positivity and motivation.
I first met Felix at my local parkrun probably about eight years ago now, and gradually got to know him and his wife Suzanne over the course of that time. At that stage, Felix was a beast on the trails, and his name would pop up as a participant at most local events in the longest distances. He was, and still is, renowned for ‘Felixnav’ – where he gets so wrapped up in the environment around him during a race, he loses his way and at times gets lost, having to backtrack and get back on course. It’s a term of endearment amongst those who know him, and Felix has taken it on with gusto, never shying from finding his way back and catching up to secure himself a spot in the top half of finishers.
The birth of Felixnav (now a hashtag in its own right) takes place in 2014, when at the 6 Inch Trail Marathon in south west WA he decided to take a ‘short cut’ to Aid Station 2 – not once, not twice, but three times.
The race is 47km…his GPS read 60km+ at the finish.
It took me a few years to learn of Felix’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and it dawned on me that trail running for him was his ticket to better function. But the acronym doesn’t tell the whole story – it’s not so much a deficit problem as it is a regulation problem, and there’s increasing evidence that a single session of exercise can lead to immediate improvements in ADHD symptoms and cognitive functions…(cont’d).
CONTINUE READING THIS STORY ABOUT FELIX – AND MORE – IN TRAIL RUN MAG #45 (NOV/DEC 2022).