Voices of PKD: Sarah Latonas, Edmonton AB
My name is Sarah and I am a marathon runner and Ironman triathlete. I ran my first road race when I was ten years old, but only got into running more seriously in grade twelve when I decided to train for a half marathon. I ran my first marathon two years later and then began competing in triathlon for the added challenge, eventually working my way up to the full Ironman distance (swim 3.8km, bike 180km, run 42.2km). By the start of this year I had run twenty-six marathons, including the Boston Marathon, and had completed thirteen full Ironman races, including the Ironman World Championship in Kona. I had also competed at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship twice.
I will be turning thirty later this year, which is a little scary, so to mark the occasion and make it something to celebrate I have challenged myself to run thirty marathons before my birthday. To complete the challenge, I decided to run four more marathons over the course of four months, starting with the Calgary Frostbitten Full Marathon in February, continuing with the LA Marathon in March and the Boston Marathon in April, and finishing with the Vancouver Marathon in May to celebrate the tenth anniversary of my very first marathon.
To make this challenge more meaningful I ran to raise money for the PKD Foundation of Canada. This is an important charity for me because of the impact PKD has had on my family, and the impact I have seen it have on other families through my work as a medical resident. I have known since I was a child that ADPKD runs in my family, and that there is 50-50 chance I have inherited this disease as well. Athletics and sport have had a major positive impact on my life, and it is important to me to take what is often an individual pursuit and use it to give back and help improve the health of others in my community.
This challenge was much tougher than I initially anticipated and over the past four months I faced multiple challenges and setbacks, including arctic temperatures, frostbite, blood blisters, sunburn, and a nasty hamstring injury that left me limping through two races and severely undertrained for my final marathon. But I persevered and on May 5th I successfully completed my challenge when I crossed the finish line at the Vancouver Marathon with my friends and family cheering me on.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has made this challenge possible through their support and generosity. To date $6,318 has been raised for the PKD Foundation of Canada, which will make a big difference in advancing PKD research and supporting patients living with this disease. I am grateful for this opportunity to share my story, and to hopefully inspire others to join the fight to end PKD. For more information on my challenge you can visit my fundraising page at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/30-by-30/.