Heart failure survivor will run Heart Mini-Marathon 15k

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CINCINNATI (WXIX) — The Heart Mini-Marathon is back in person this weekend in downtown Cincinnati, and one of its participants has a long drive to get to the start line.

The Heart Mini-Marathon is a great fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

For some of the people who participate, it’s more than a walk or a run. It’s a way for heart disease and stroke survivors to come together.

Tonia Elrod is a walking miracle after nearly dying three years ago.

“One morning I did a morning workout, I came home, I didn’t feel very well. [Felt] a little nauseous, my arm hurts,” Elrod recalls, “And suddenly I have a massive heart attack followed by cardiac arrest.

Once Elrod arrived at the hospital, she had four more cardiac arrests.

She spent a month in the hospital, then had to learn to walk again.

Now, with a stent in her heart and taking 15 medications a day, she’s ready to run the Heart Mini-Marathon 15K.

“And three years ago when the Heart Mini came along, I was just trying to walk 1,000 steps a day,” Elrod recalls, “That was my goal: if I could walk 1,000 steps a day. So , it’s amazing to be here now.

Elrod began working with a personal trainer at Cincy 360. Amanda Valentine helped her train for the race.

Elrod also joined a running group through Fleet Feet and now runs five to six days a week.

She says that without the support of her friends, family, doctors and Team Tonia, she wouldn’t be here today.

“I think if it can happen to me, I feel like it can happen to anyone,” Elrod says. “So we need to take control of our health and know our blood pressure and cholesterol and eat healthy and keep moving.”

Elrod will move at a healthy pace on Sunday.

When she completes the 15km, it will be the longest distance she has ever run. This is the first time that Elrod will participate in the Heart Mini race in person.

She hopes her story will inspire others to take the first step towards a healthy lifestyle.

“Now is a time for our community to come together and celebrate being active,” adds Elrod, “and at the same time tackling the number one killer of men and women which is heart disease. “

You can still register for the race at this link.

Events run throughout the morning with varying distances. All proceeds stay local to benefit the American Heart Association and their research here in the tri-state.

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