MARLBOROUGH – When Marlborough resident Ben Braun was transferred to the Tufts Medical Center Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in February 2021, he was not sure if he would be able to return to outdoor distance running.
Braun had taken up the hobby after the pandemic began. But he now found it threatened by myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle – and cardiogenic shock – the body’s inability to pump enough blood to meet its needs.
“Eventually I got to the point where I was able to feel comfortable enough with my medical team and my coaches to where I felt like it was something I wanted to try,” Braun said of running again, though.
So, on April 18, Braun hit the course for the Boston Marathon as part of Team Tufts MC – the charity team for Tufts Medical Center.
Braun said that he was fortunate that Tufts works with a company called Marathon Coalition, which provided a strong training plan.
While Braun was not able to participate in the long distance runs they hosted, he prepared for the marathon on his own schedule. He ran three to four times a week and gradually increased his distances ahead of this year’s Boston Marathon race.
“I’m incredibly excited to get out there and experience all the excitement and the energy,” Braun said before the marathon last month. “As someone who typically trains for my runs alone, I’m very excited to be part of this amazing spectacle and get to witness the crowds and the energy.”
Runner thanks Tufts
Braun described his illness, noting that he developed a fever, achiness and general malaise late last February.
Over the next few days, he said, his symptoms progressed to a severe shortness of breath unlike anything he had experienced before.
“So, after suffering with that for a week, I sort of realized that something more was wrong,” Braun said.
After an urgent care visit he was sent to a local emergency department before being transferred to the Tufts ICU the next day.
Immediately after arriving at Tufts, Braun said attending physicians were talking with him, starting medications and getting the correct lines to help him recover and get enough blood throughout his body.
“Their ability to rapidly respond to that and get things stabilized I think really helped me start the recovery process,” Braun said.
Braun also praised Team Tufts MC, describing it as a wide group of runners with different connections to Tufts including undergraduate and nursing students, active nurses, medical students and attending physicians.
He said that other people impacted by Tufts in the community who feel it is important to run are also on the team.
“Team Tufts has really been a great organization and a great group of people and runners that I’m so fortunate to get to run with,” Braun said.
Braun completed the Boston Marathon on April 18, finishing the race in a time of 4:52:33 according to the Boston Athletic Association.
Learn more about Team Tufts MC at https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/giving-support/events/boston-marathon/join-our-team.
And learn more about Braun from his marathon fundraising page https://www.givengain.com/ap/ben-braun-raising-funds-for-tufts-medical-center/