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Tri-City Medical Center’s ‘Lucky 13’ Complete Half-marathon Triple Crown

Oceanside CA— Lucky is a good word to describe this group of 13 athletes who are part of a special program through Tri-City Medical Center. Everyone in this group has or is working to overcome serious or life threatening health conditions. On Sunday, the group accomplished their goal of running three half-marathons in a year.

Lucky Thirteen is a community outreach program sponsored by Tri-City Medical Center.

“Basically anyone with a health problem is eligible for the Lucky 13. We train them for six months to get ready to run the Carlsbad half-marathon. “ said Paul Carey, Head Trainer and leader for the program and a former Lucky Thirteen participant.

More than 80 people have gone through the program which is in its seventh year. “People apply online or write in and tell their life stories, their health obstacles, why they would like to be a part of a team and why they are ready to make a healthy lifestyle change.” Paul explains “It’s not so much about getting them to be fast runners, the real goal is to empower them to be healthier people. The people we reach out to are the ones that need it the most.”

 Trainers Paul Carey and Cody lead some of the Lucky 13 in stretching exercises

Trainers Paul Carey and Cody lead some of the Lucky 13 in stretching exercises

The applicants are chosen by Wellness Center staff and members of Tri-City Medical Center. “They are all worthy applicants but we choose the 13 who appear to be the most driven and need the most help.” said Paul.

The athletes are trained for endurance “But above all else we want to make sure these people are safe.” continued Paul, “ People with these types of injuries, cancer survivors, heart transplant patients , amputees, we want to keep them safe but just as important, we want to make sure they are having fun. When you are having fun and staying motivated, you want to come back and work hard.”

Due to the determination of the team members, this was the first time a group has gone for the triple crown, three half marathons in a calendar year; The Carlsbad half-marathon, La Jolla half-marathon and most recently, Americas Finest City half-marathon. “They absolutely asked for the extra half-marathons.” said Paul “As a trainer and head of a program, you’re hesitant to ask for more funding in a program where you’re already happy with what you have and everything the Wellness Center and Tri-City Medical center has done for us but they took it upon themselves to go straight to the CEO of Tri-City Medical Center, Tim Moran, and ask for funding. He couldn’t get on board fast enough and approved the funding.”

Tina Knight, of Oceanside, was instrumental in getting the program extended “ I left his office and five minutes later, I had the marketing team calling me and saying, what is it, exactly, that you want. Mr. Moran just called us and we’re a go.” said Tina.

Tina was treated at Tri-City for Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection and was not expected to survive.

Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

Tina’s kidneys shut down and she lost her fingers and toes. She is no longer on dialysis and looks forward to the training sessions. “It’s been a really exciting year, a really fast exciting year.” said Tina.

The weather was a factor for the team running in Sunday’s Americas Finest City half-marathon. “As far as the hills and the course, it was fine because we did Torrey Pines in the La Jolla half-marathon but the heat was the biggest factor in our challenge today.” said Tina.

The training has been paying off for Tina” My feet are a little sore but the muscles in my legs and back that hurt in the first two, don’t hurt this time around. It’s a good sign that the hard training we’ve been putting in has helped immensely.”
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