Liver Transplant Patient Runs 50 Mile Ultra Marathon

There isn’t much that can slow down John Kippen. Just nine months after receiving a liver transplant that saved his life, the 60-year-old avid runner from Frederick, Maryland completed the JFK 50 Mile Run this November. He finished the ultra marathon in 13 hours and 14 minutes.

November 23, 2011

60-year-old Runner Completes JFK 50 Mile Run Nine Months After Transplant

(Washington, D.C.) – There isn’t much that can slow down John Kippen. Just nine months after receiving a liver transplant that saved his life, the 60-year-old avid runner from Frederick, Maryland completed the JFK 50 Mile Run this November. He finished the ultra marathon in 13 hours and 14 minutes.

Kippen’s need for a transplant arose after he developed liver cancer as a complication of his hepatitis C. After sitting on the waiting list for three months, he received his new organ in February 2011. It wasn’t long before he was ready to lace up his running shoes again.

“The things I enjoy most about running are being in the outdoors, setting and attaining difficult goals and spending long periods of time with others who are in the same mindset,” said Kippen, who started running marathons at the age of 47 and owns a running shoe store in Frederick called “If the Shoe Fits.”

Though he recognized the added challenges the transplant would present, Kippen said he was not at all worried about how his transplanted liver would fare during the marathon. His doctors at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute had advised him to stay extra hydrated in order to protect his kidneys. He also added much more walking to his training, which helped enable him to walk briskly during the demanding second half of the 50 mile run.

Kippen credits the Georgetown staff that cared for him during his recovery with helping him get back on his feet.

“My physical therapist and nurse practitioner were both marathon runners. They were great staff, and custom picked to help get me back to where I wanted to be!”

Kippen hopes his story of determination will help to inspire other transplant patients.

“Whatever your spiritual and physical baseline is going into surgery, that should be the goal and it can be reached with faith and effort,” he said.

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Marianne Worley
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