Steven Johnson

I was always athletic growing up and a high school varsity letterman. I had a deep love for basketball, football and track.  I then went on to play college football.  Many years later, in 2010, I had a shocking acute hospitalization as I woke up one morning with searing left hip pain, the inability to walk and lost the use of my hands due to severe swelling and pain. I couldn’t make a fist nor was I able to use scissors to simply cut paper.  To make matters worse, I endured a procedure on my left hip to drain fluid that had accumulated.  I was diagnosed with an atypical, severe, autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis. I decided to walk daily as part of my rehab.  Pretty soon, I made the goal of accomplishing one mile daily, by any means. Walking then turned into running and I began completing several 5 and 10Ks, followed by a 15K. Soon my decision was to dance with the half marathon.  Mission accomplished. This task was absolutely exhilarating.  Further, physically, I felt incredibly well and my arthritis symptoms lessened. After seeking advice and encouragement from members of BMR and BGR, along with so many in the running community, I decided to sign up for my first 26.2, RNR-DC. After a successful finish, I dreamed of the NYC marathon as my second and final marathon. I trained and successfully conquered the five boroughs in 2016. But I wasn’t done…

I successfully completed the Boston Marathon in October 2021, and with that, I concluded the journey of the Abbott World Major Marathon Series, as Boston was my coveted sixth and final star.

What excites me most about running is the fact that it takes me outdoors to enjoy nature, I am able to problem solve while on the pavement, relieve career and personal stress, develop new lasting friendships, and encourage others.  Additionally, it has afforded me the opportunity to now be medication free and in complete disease remission since 2015.  Needless to say, this will be a lifelong commitment at shorter distances, as Father Time is undefeated, and I need to be kind to the one frame that God gave me and my “second chance”.  I have developed a run squad and family that is absolutely irreplaceable and I have seen the world with them.  Our achievements will never be forgotten and our bond is forever.

My simple advice to anyone contemplating or having a current love/hate relationship with running is to continue to put one foot in front of the other. Don’t quit. Do not compare yourself to anyone else. Instead, learn from them, the good and the bad. We each have our own story and unique journey to endure. Anything is possible through this sport and remember to take care of your body. There will be many triumphs and many struggles, but focus on being a better version of yourself every time you lace up. Boston was my tenth and final 26.2-mile trip. Not bad for someone who was told he would never run another 5K. Faith, perseverance, a little crazy and a sprinkle of pure determination are a few of the key ingredients to making it all happen. Happy running!!!

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