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Kristen Bodkin, D.O. (’09)
 

An apple a day

Marathon runner Kristin Bodkin, D.O. (’09), follows her own advice

By Colleen Kiphart

Aug. 12, 2009

Kristin Bodkin, D.O. (’09), was known to her OU-COM classmates as “the fruit girl.” Not because she’s nuts, but because, during long hours of medical lectures and study sessions, she brought in fruit to sell to her hungry classmates.

“We would sit through these all-day lectures,” Bodkin says, “and you would see your classmates going out and getting junk food from vending machines, because it was the only snack option. So, I started bringing in apples and bananas, charged fifty cents apiece, and it just caught on.”

This proactive commitment to health distinguished Bodkin from many of her peers. While her classmates often lapsed into rounds of late-night lattes and chocolate binges, Bodkin peddled fruit and ran marathons.

But like many good habits, marathon running came with a struggle. Bodkin started running after fitness classes at Ohio State University piqued her interest, but her first jog was hardly a marathon. “I would run two minutes and think, ‘This is miserable! Why would any one want to do this?’”

She persevered and finished the 2005 Columbus Marathon, her first one, shortly after she stared medical school. Her time was three hours, 57 minutes. She has since run five more, including two Boston Marathons, and she’s training for a sixth marathon in Columbus this October. Her record time is three hours, 20 minutes.

Richard Klabunde, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology, saw that same tenacity during Bodkin’s first and second years at OU-COM. “She always impressed me as a diligently disciplined young woman, not just in her studies but in her total life,” he says.

Bodkin applies her dedication and proactive approach to health to her field, family practice. “One thing that bugged me in my surgical rotation was that people often needed (surgery) because of a poor decision they made in their life. So many lifestyle problems, and I was like, ‘Man! I want to be there helping people so they aren’t here in the first place.”

Like many family practitioners, Bodkin aims to effect change in her patients’ lifestyles, and athletics has made this conversation easier. “I know how hard it is to fit in time for exercise. I understand it, and that not everyone will be running marathons.” Bodkin says, “But, if I can get a person who is obese and diabetic moving to the best of their ability, I can improve that person’s life.”

Bodkin had not considered an osteopathic medical school until her step-uncle, Stephen Morgan, D.O. (’92)—who hooded her at OU-COM’s 2009 Commencement ceremony—began talking to her about the college. “He thought the osteopathic principles were really in line with my philosophy. I gave OU-COM a good look, and I was surprised by what a good fit it was. He was right!”

Bodkin has just begun her medical career with a residency at Doctors Hospital in Columbus. She knows it will be a few years before she can start her own practice, but she’s ready for it.

“Running has taught me about endurance,” she says. “It might sound silly, but it teaches you to push through, to get through anything.”
 
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Last updated: 01/28/2016