First-time marathon runner outruns depression

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Lackawanna County woman is proving to others you can overcome personal and pandemic obstacles to cross the finish line of your dreams.

“If I can get through depression and anxiety, anybody can,” said Lisa Conway.

An emotional celebration as Lisa Conway accomplished her lifelong goal Saturday of running a marathon.

What started out as a simple way to relieve stress became a necessary practice in her struggle with mental health.

“Running helped me through the depression, it helped me so much. And it helped me with the forgetfulness, and the neurological problems that I had,” explained Conway.

“Running has been a way for her to meet new people and experience new things and help her through that time and it’s transformed her,” stated James Conway, Lisa’s son.

But she didn’t do it alone. First, Conway ran the 26.2 miles with her service dog, Teddy, by her side.

“He made me feel like I could do it. And he runs with me, and I don’t run without him. And he makes it all possible,” said Conway.

Besides Teddy and her family, she found the motivation to turn her dream into reality with the help of the local running community.

In 2018, she joined Scranton Running Company’s training program called “Barrier Breakers”.

“The strength of it is probably just the people and the camaraderie and the accountability so to speak that kind of naturally becomes created in that,” said Matthew Byrne, owner of the Scranton Running Company & Valley Running Company.

Conway planned on running in the 2021 Steamtown Marathon but it was canceled due to the pandemic. Refusing to give up, she decided to run the course solo with Teddy.

“She’d be lost without him, and it would be nice if Steamtown could let these service dogs run in the marathon and the half-marathon,” said Paul Conway, Lisa’s husband.

A day Conway will never forget.

Scranton Running Company’s “Barrier Breakers” offers support for everyone from walkers to intermediate runners. To learn more about what’s available to get help through exercise, head over to their website.

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