Runner Who Lost Vision Due to Covid-19 Finishes Marathon with Guides by Her Side

By Peyton Phillips October 6, 2021
“I can still do the same things. I can still be the same person.”

Laura Sosalla was declared legally blind earlier this year after a battle with Covid-19. Instead of letting the situation get her down, she decided she wanted to run a marathon. “I can still do the same things. I can still be the same person,” said Sosalla.

Sosalla sent a message to Rachael Bentley through United in Stride, an organization that matches visually impaired runners with running guides. The pair began running together, along with Bentley’s sister Natalie Elmore and Sosalla’s neighbor Laura Brennan. The four women often run from Sosalla’s parents’ home in Bloomington, Minnesota – other times, around Lake Harriet.

After months of training, Sosalla ran the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 2. The three women switched out who ran alongside Sosalla throughout the race, but they completed the final mile together — just how Sosalla wanted.

On the back of Sosalla’s shirt that she wore during the race were the names of people she wanted to thank for helping her over the past year — one for each mile. “I know I’m extremely lucky,” said the 38-year-old from St. Paul. “The outpouring of support, the outpouring of love was overwhelming. Like even to this moment, I can’t fully grasp the level of generosity and kindness.”

Sosalla said she was very happy with how her training turned out and what she has learned over these last few months. “Something I’ve noticed when I run is that my eyes improve and they start to feel better,” Sosalla said. “My guess is it’s because there’s more blood flow getting to them.” Although she doubts she will run another marathon anytime soon, Sosalla intends on signing up for shorter races and hopes to get more friends and family involved.

Image source: MPR News