A survivor's story


Stroke setback didn't stop Kansas DVM from competing in grueling Boston Marathon; first stroke survivor to complete 'king of marathons'

Stroke setback didn't stop Kansas DVM from competing in grueling Boston Marathon; first stroke survivor to complete 'king of marathons'

By Stephanie Davis

Senior Editor

Olathe, Kansas-For many stroke victims, survival is a respectablegoal. For Marc Hardin, 51, DVM, survival was an afterthought. His goal:run the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon as a survivor.

No easy task. Following his stroke, the small-town Kansas veterinarianwas determined to master the task in time for the next Boston race. On April15, 2002, nearly 52 weeks later, mission accomplished with a time of 4 hours,20 minutes and 16 seconds, "slow but respectable," he says. Heis reportedly the first stroke survivor to complete the king of U.S. marathons.

In April 2001, Hardin fell victim to transient ischemic attack or accident(TIA), the result of a vertebral artery in his neck that split into layerscausing a blockage.

The stroke attacked his motion capabilities, along with his ability toswallow. "You couldn't sit, stand or walk nor swallow. It made me depressed,"he says.

Depression was not an option for the veteran runner who has competedin seven Boston Marathons, 10 Pikes Peak Marathons, four Grand Canyon Marathonsand two New York city races.

Soon he was asking doctors, "Could I ever get back on my feet todo a marathon? If I can can I do it fast enough to qualify?"

Besides his running aspirations, Hardin had a job that desperately awaitedhis return. His one-man, nearly $400,000-generating practice, in operationsince 1983, was not for sale yet.

In the interim, Hardin located a Kansas State University graduate tofill in for the practice, which caters to small animal, birds and pocketpets.

"Being a sole practitioner, when the stroke happened, I obviouslycouldn't go to work. You had to scramble to find somebody who was good enoughto come in and take my place. The practice went downhill and I realizedI needed to get back to work."

Hardin was in the hospital April 21; back to work on May 10.

Since his stroke, Hardin actively promotes the American Stroke Association(ASA), and ran his first Disney marathon for them in January in an attemptto qualify for Boston. His time was just minutes out of qualifying contention.But thanks to a coach with Boston connections, he was awarded a chance torun in his favorite marathon locale.

DesigningHealth.com, manufacturers of Missing Link, a flaxseed supplementfor dogs and cats, sponsored Hardin in his pursuit.


Besides his stroke-recovery feat, Hardin won a Mid-America Master's Trophyfor Pike's Peak marathon in 1990, which involves running a roundtrip marathondistance from 5,000 ft. elevation to 14,200.

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