She’s not afraid of challenges
For Blue Point resident Natalie Radino, victory is just being able to run in the Suffolk County Marathon this Sunday.

Photo provided by the Radino family

She’s not afraid of challenges

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
9/10/2015


Another face in the race

BLUE POINT—Marathon runner Natalie Radino had a few tough years in her young life, but somehow she has managed to get through them in good form. That victory is a feeling she’ll take along on her next challenge, the Suffolk County Marathon this Sunday. She said being able to finish a marathon is a state of mind that says, “anything is possible.”

However, that prospect seemed unlikely four years ago when Radino, then 24, suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling down a flight of stairs. “I missed a step, and even though it was only three steps, the way I fell developed a subdural hematoma.”

Radino, a registered nurse, was rushed to Brookhaven Hospital, where she said the staff “acted quickly and accurately.” She was then transferred to a neurological ICU at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, where she remained unconscious for two weeks. 

The long road back to recovery did not include something she had enjoyed doing: running. In fact, she was told she’d probably never run again.

That didn’t sit well with her, though. In fact, some of her fondest recollections from high school involved running track with the Half Hollow Hills East High School team at the Armory in Washington Heights. “Every time I raced there, it was a personal record, and we ran with amazing [athletes],” Radino said. “Our team broke the school record that lasted a long while.”

These days, she’s more interested in just competing rather than breaking records, something that seemed impossible at the beginning of her recovery. When she began exercising again, she started by riding a bicycle. “Being active means the world to me,” Radino said. She then progressed to walking. And after a while, with her doctor’s blessing, she started to run again. “After not running for a long time, I could only run for a mile.” But then, her endurance gradually increased and she was able to run a 5K race. “It was great,” she remarked. After a few more 5K races, she progressed to running a 10K race and then eventually signed up for a half marathon. “The doctor said ‘go for it,’ but just take it easy.”

Last October, Radino ran her first full marathon: the Marine Corps Marathon in honor of Cpl. Christopher Scherer of Northport, who was killed in Iraq in 2007. The event raised money for veterans service dogs.

Radino, a Blue Point resident and newlywed, said she is excited to be able to run the Suffolk County Marathon that also benefits veterans services. “When I was younger, I wanted to be a Marine.

“I now want to… pay tribute to their sacrifice and bravery by running in honor of each and every one of them,” she said.

And while honoring the courage of others, in a way, she’s also honoring her own fortitude that won’t end with Sunday’s race, either. Next year, she plans on running in the NYC Marathon as well.

“[In the NYC Marathon], I’m looking forward to running past New York-Presbyterian Hospital and all of the doctors and nurses that helped me to recover so I could run again. I’m so grateful to them.

“It’s been my personal anecdote I tell my patients: Bouncing back is a long journey, but you do it one step at a time,” she said.