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With the support of VCU Health, the sky's the limit for champion runner Keira D’Amato

Sports medicine, orthopedics teams help record-holder build strength. 

Keira D'Amato Keira D'Amato (Photo: Allen Jones, University Marketing)

By Danielle Pierce

Keira D’Amato — a 37-year-old mother of two from Richmond — is now the fastest American woman to run a marathon. Her record-breaking race took place at the Chevron Houston Marathon in January, following years of dedication and many twists and turns. These twists and turns weren’t just physical, though. They also included a winding route to VCU Health.

From college athlete to world champion

As an elite athlete in college, D’Amato had a passion for track. But when injuries persisted, she found herself taking time away from the sport she loved and venturing into new territory — starting a family and becoming a realtor.

Yet something was missing. D’Amato began looking for ways to incorporate self-care into her new life. And as luck would have it, she found it in her old friend: running.

In 2020, D’Amato regained her stride and pushed herself to the highest levels of competition. She set the American and then the world record for women in the women’s only 10-mile run and recorded one of the fastest times for American women in the half marathon and the full marathon.

In early 2021, she set her sights on making the Olympic team — a goal she’d had since 4th grade.

Unfortunately, a series of injuries dashed her hopes. This setback, however, did not deter her.

Enter VCU Health

D’Amato needed a plan to regain her competitive edge. That plan included the sports medicine and physical therapy teams at VCU Health.

VCU Health’s sports medicine clinic offers a full-service orthopedic clinic with highly skilled orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine doctors, experienced athletic trainers and physical therapists.

D’Amato began seeing the VCU sports medicine and physical therapy teams in June 2021. Through a series of exercises, stretches and weekly treatments for a hip injury, D’Amato resumed competitive running just a couple months later.

A record-breaking year

D’Amato finished fourth at the Chicago Marathon in October and set a new record for the 8K at the Richmond Marathon in November.

And now she’s celebrating her new American record for the women’s marathon.

D’Amato took to Instagram to thank her family and support system, including Chris Thoene, her physical therapist, and her teams at VCU Health. But her recent tweet sums up the magnitude of what her latest accomplishment means for her:

“After setting the American Record in the Marathon, the thing I am most excited about is some girl/woman saw it and thought, ‘I can do that.’ I know they will… and I’ll be rooting for them.”

Mom. Realtor. World record holder.

Whatever the title may be, we know the sky's the limit for Keira D’Amato.

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