Saila Consalvi

Ali on the Run Show Episode 520: Saila Consalvi, 13-Time Marathoner with Lung Cancer

“From the start, it was like, I’m gonna deal with this, but I’m not going to let this take over. I’m not going to let it take my life away. I’m not going to let it take my happiness away. So I do it, and I deal with it, and some days are really tough, but I still want to live my life.”

In January, 13-time marathoner Saila Consalvi was told she’d be lucky if she could watch this year’s Boston Marathon, let alone run it. And yet, four months later, she defied expectation: She completed the 2022 Boston Marathon. In this conversation, Saila talks about what it took to complete her third Boston Marathon, and about her road to the start line, which hasn’t been easy. In 2017, Saila was 35 years old and had just completed her ninth marathon and her first Ironman. She was in the best shape of her life. But soon, things just felt…off. Then, she was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. Today, Saila — who is from Finland — lives in Denver, CO, with her husband and their four-month-old son, Enzo.

SPONSOR: UCAN — Go to ucan.co/ali and use code ALI for 20% off your next UCAN order.

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • Why Saila ran Boston with “Sally” on her shirt (3:40)
  • Saila’s story about running Boston with Peloton instructor Jess Sims (6:00)
  • Saila’s Boston Marathon recap (8:00)
  • Saila’s advice for runners who are raising money for charity (14:20)
  • How Saila got into running (16:35)
  • Saila’s lung cancer diagnosis (24:00)
  • On fear, and adjusting to life with cancer (37:30)
  • How Saila remains optimistic in the face of so much bad news (52:00)
  • How Saila found the strength to get to the Boston Marathon start line (56:50)

For more, check out:

Jess Sims on Episode 516 of the Ali on the Run Show

“My Beauty Uniform: Saila Hanninen,” via Cup of Jo

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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