Year after surviving COVID, man takes part in 1st half marathon since being hospitalized

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Posted at 9:19 AM, Apr 26, 2021

DENVER, Colo. — In March 2020, Robert Dennis was in a Colorado hospital fighting to stay alive. More than a year later, he's taking part in his first half marathon since surviving COVID-19.

Dennis spent 13 days on a ventilator. After he was taken off it, he was transferred to a rehab facility since he had to learn to walk, eat and talk all over again.

"I don't remember a lot of that," Dennis said.

He told KMGH that at the time, all he wanted was to get back to normal and make a full recovery.

"One of the physical baselines is to see how far you can walk in six minutes, and I couldn't walk out of the room. I'm on a walker, the nurse is dragging the oxygen tank behind me, and I couldn't go across and back and forth in the room," he said.

After being released from the rehab center, he set his mind to making that full recovery, as soon as possible.

"My big goal was Fourth of July to get rid of the oxygen," Dennis said. "There were things that were like little milestones."

Dennis quickly overcame every single one of those milestones, eventually leading him to one of his major goals, completing a half marathon.

He signed up for the Boulder Marathon, which was rescheduled for October 2021, and then moved again to April 2021, when participants were encouraged to complete it virtually.

Instead of spending a Sunday morning on the couch, Dennis decided to finish that half marathon, the first time he'd run that much since being hospitalized.

"I got my life back, maybe even better," he said.

He finished the 13.1 miles in under 3 hours, with his sights set on a new goal.

"I'm already starting to think about can I? Obviously I can run the 13, but can I run the full?" said Dennis.

This story was originally published by Veronica Acosta at KMGH.