“I took down all facades. I just could not hold up this fake exterior of everything was OK when I felt like I could barely get out of bed every day. I would just get up, go to work, and the only thing else that was consistent was running. I would run every day, despite how bad I felt. And it was such a sense of refuge at points. I would feel like I would be OK. And that’s when I would start planning for the future. I was like, ‘Deirdre, this is transient. This is going to get better. You are going to get better. Dad’s looking out for you. Don’t give up. Just keep going. Get through today. Tomorrow will hopefully be a better day. And if it’s not, that’s OK, too. We will get there.’ Running reinforced that resiliency that I truly thought I’d lost.”
Deirdre Keane normally flies pretty under the radar. But last month, the 33-time marathoner (whose personal best time is 3:14) became a face seen by millions when she was featured on Humans of New York. Suddenly, 11.3 million people on Instagram and 17 million more on Facebook knew Deirdre’s story. In the post, Deirdre shared the story of her dad, who was an avid (and fast!) marathoner. She talked about how he ran his final New York City Marathon the day before what turned out to be his final surgery to help treat his melanoma. Deirdre talked about how her dad so badly wanted his kids to be runners when they were growing up, but they weren’t interested — until after his passing, when Deidre decided to run her first marathon on what would’ve been her dad’s birthday. Then, Deirdre talked about going through a tough time last year, and how running became her constant — it was what she did to remember who she was, and who she is.
On this episode, Deirdre talks about the rest of her story. She talks about waking up at 4 AM to run 10 miles to work from her home in the Bronx to the Upper East Side, where she’s a nurse practitioner in the pediatric ICU at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She talks about working through the pandemic in New York City, about leaning into running after her brother was in a near-fatal car accident, and about her big plans for her next year on the run (starting with three fall marathons: Boston, New York City, and Dallas). When she’s not working or on the run, Deirdre is pursuing her MBA at New York University, where she is also the editor-in-chief of the school’s graduate newspaper.
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What you’ll get on this episode:
- On running through wet cement! (6:10)
- All about being featured on Humans of New York (11:00)
- Deirdre talks about her dad and his love for running (24:00)
- How Deirdre got into marathoning (28:35)
- How Deirdre has added more meaning to her running over the past year and a half (39:25)
- On being a “helper” (48:00)
- The role running has served for Deirdre over the past year (50:10)
- How training (for the Boston, New York City, and Dallas Marathons) is going, and what’s next for Deirdre (1:00:00)
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