Following her diagnosis for Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS) and subsequent surgery in July 2021, Olivia Colombo navigated a challenging health journey leading up to her first Boston Marathon in October.
“I went in last time with almost zero expectations other than I wanted to finish, and I think this time I had more of an idea of what I was capable of and what I wanted to do,” Colombo, LSEHD ’22, said.
Running for Boston Children’s Hospital again made this marathon a full-circle moment for Colombo. The Children’s Hospital team pairs every runner with a patient who they will honor with their participation and this time she said she was able to pick her patient partner, a 14-year-old named Brianna, who also has MALS.
“She is a couple steps behind in the process. She’s awaiting a surgery date currently, and she is very sick at this current moment, but I think it was very special for both of us,” Colombo said.
Since Colombo had just come off of running the marathon in the fall, she said she took a brief break from running, but once she began training again, she trained less since she was still in marathon shape.
The experience of passing Mile 21 lost none of its luster a second time, Colombo said. In the week before the marathon, Colombo shared a reflection about Mile 21 at a prayer service put on by BC’s CLC.
“I talked about how Mile 21 is really like a refuge … that welcomes us home for a brief second and then sends us back out on our way to finish, and I know at least for my first marathon, I kept thinking ‘I just need to make it to Mile 21. I need to make it to my friends. I need to make it to my people,’” Colombo said.