Julia Khvasechko

Portland, OR, Portland


A: I started running to regain my health and to give back to a very special place that saved my life.  I had a brain tumor removed in my 20’s and endured a great deal of pre op and post op treatments, for over a year I practically lived MSKCC, which is an amazing hospital.  One day, while in the hospital, which is on mile 16 of the NYCM course, I witnessed the marathon going on.  I watched for hours and saw humanity at its best and felt inspired.  I made a deal with God that day … if i was given the chance to beat this thing and the opportunity to one day leave my wheelchair and walk again, I was going to focus and dedicate myself and my life to getting healthy and get myself strong enough so I too can run a marathon to raise funds and awareness for MSKCC.  It was exactly the carrot I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and focus on regaining my health.
A:  Central Park
A: Athletic Skirts
My personal best in the half marathon is 1:45; my personal best in the marathon is 3:47.  My best 100 miler is 26:42.  My greatest accomplishments are pacing marathons. I have run over 175 marathons and it is no longer a challenge for me but rather routine, but being able to pace others to their first marathon finish line is my greatest joy.
To complete the 2nd round of the 50 states plus DC (I’m 2 states away) to complete the 7 continents (I’m 4 continents away) and to run a sub 24 hour 100 miler.
Highlight of my running career is pacing the NYCM which is a huge honor for me since I run past the hospital where I was once bedridden post-operative and needed a wheelchair to get around the first year.  Being able to not only run the race but to lead a group of others, with my survivor shirt on, that is my greatest accomplishment in life.  To inspire all those on the other side of the glass who might be watching.  if they see me and say, hey, she was once one of us, and perhaps inspire them to not give up but instead to say ‘if she can do it, then maybe i can do it”, that Is what I live for.  I want to inspire others.  I want someone to look at me and say, because of your story, i had hope that I was going to be okay and I didn’t give up.
I got married at the Maui Oceanfront marathon in a very special bridal RunningSkirts outfit that was custom made for me paired with a white strappy tank.  It was my big 50th state finish, which took me 8 years to complete (by the way and also my fiancés 50th state finish as well) and we decided to celebrate both of our accomplishments by getting married on the course.
We started the marathon as regular people but at mile 17, on January 19th, 2014, we said “with this run, I thee wed” surrounded by our friends and family and fellow runners and we crossed the finish line as husband and wife and 50 state finishers 8 miles later.
That was the greatest day of my life.

Interesting fact 2: I am a brain cancer survivor who had to relearn how to walk post-operative and to date I have run 176 marathons/ultra’s (including four 100 milers) so my motto is: I’m stronger than cancer and tougher than fear.  No matter how challenging it gets on the run, especially at night, I recall my special motto and it gets me through a rough patch.