Colleen Kelly Alexander for Runner’s World

December 2, 2013 1:39 pm

In 2011, a freight truck rolled over Colleen Kelly Alexander as she rode her bike. Still recovering from that horrific accident, Alexander, 38, of Clinton, Connecticut, says she’ll race until she’s earned a medal for each of the 50-plus people she estimates had a hand in keeping her alive. As of September Alexander had handed over more than three dozen medals to doctors, first responders, and nurses whom she credits with saving her life and helping her through her recovery.

But the most significant handoff happened when she gave her head trauma surgeon, Lewis J. Kaplan, M.D., the medal she’d earned at the August 2013 Ironman 70.3 Timberman (a half Ironman), the longest and most difficult she’s ever completed since she was pieced back together again. “I’m slow, I limp, and I’m in pain.” she says. “But I have two legs and a beating heart, and so I run. This is the best way I know how to let the heroes who fought to save me know what they did matters.”

Text by Debra Witt
A Special thanks to Photo Editor Michele Ervin.

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