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Feet Don’t Fail Me Now

By France Griggs Sloat

Julie Isphording is finally footloose and fancy free. Well, sort of. The 1983 accounting graduate, 1984 Olympic marathon runner and host of WVXU’s talk show “On Your Feet” was off her feet for most of the last winter after undergoing double foot repair surgeries.

She had her left foot fixed in October and her right foot repaired in January. In between, she crawled, was carried or used crutches to get around—a traumatic experience for a woman who’s made a career out of running and fitness.

“After 20 years of running, both feet had totally collapsed inward,” she says. “I had been living in pain for four years and had learned to deal with it, but it got to a point where I could have had a horribly serious time after age 50.”

The surgeries involved seven procedures on each foot. Bones were broken, joints were fused, pins were inserted, tendons were sewn and the Achilles tendons were lengthened. Isphording, however, remains typically upbeat and annoyingly cheery about the ordeal—although admitting to tears and feeling down at times.

To keep herself going, she insisted on doing the radio show, despite having to be carried into the studio for a while. Isphording fully expects to run again, although there are no more marathons in her future—she’s already 40—and she won’t run competitively, either. She thinks.

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