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May 15, 2020
Wakenda Tyler earns April Athlete of the Month honors for her work against COVID-19
, 45, of New York, NY has been selected as the USATF New York Athlete of the Month for April 2020. She competes for Central Park Track Club - Tracksmith. Below you can read more about how she got her start in running, her efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, her favorite place to train, her current training, and future goals.
If would like to nominate a USATF-NY member, who is on the front line of the efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus, for consideration for future recognition
their name (and other pertainent details).
Associate Professor, Division Chief of Orthopaedic Oncology
NYP-Columbia University Medical Center
# of years in profession:
18 years since graduating medical school
Can you describe what your daily responsibilities have been over the past 2-3 months and how they differ from before the pandemic?
So for me, because I am an orthopaedic surgeon and specialize in oncology, I have mostly been taking regular trauma call and trying to triage the cancer patients still being seen at our hospital. Many of my partners in the department were redeployed to the ERs and ICUs to help care for covid19 patients. Unfortunately, cancer didn't get the memo to chill during this pandemic, so I have still been doing cancer surgeries, but only the most urgent cases. Unfortunately, many of my patients have had Covid19 and so dealing with treating their cancer in the setting of active infection has been quite the challenge for all of us caring for cancer patients during this trying time. Normally, we would be able to see patient in person and schedule surgeries as needed, but many of our visits have been shifted to telehealth visits and we've had to delay some surgeries that were not deemed absolutely urgent during this time. That's been hard for patients. Others, we had to rush to pull together a surgical team and get their surges done quickly and get them in and out of the hospital as fast as possible.
Have you been able to continue to train at your normal level?
I'm still running and trying to do speed workouts on my own, but it's been hard to train as intensely as I normally would. I would say my training has fallen off a bit, but not to the point where I can't ramp it back up. Running for me has been a life saver just for getting the stress (and sadness, as we have lost colleagues, friends, etc) of this moment out of my system.
When did you start running?
I started running when I was 17 years old in high school.
How did you get your start in the sport?
My high school track coach grabbed me one day at the start of my senior year of high school and told me to come to cross country practice. For some reason, I listened to this old guy who I barely knew. The first day of practice felt like pure hell. I never stopped running after that.
Favorite place to run?
Central Park, early in the morning before it gets too crowded.
What are your future racing goals?
I'm still hoping to run the NYC marathon this fall. Although, I'm worried it may get canceled this year. If that happens, it will be NYC half next year. Marathon goal this year would be under 3 hrs 20 minutes. I am also just coming back after having a kiddo, so keeping the goal realistic.
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