Why I’m Running: Kristen Laubner is running Boston after having a stroke after the birth of her 2nd daughter

"I was only 35 and never imagined that I could have a stroke at such a young age."

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston on April 16, 2018. Editor’s note: Due to the number of submissions already received, we are no longer accepting entries for this year’s race.

Name: Kristen Laubner
Age: 43
From: North Andover
Bib #: 26045

Eight years ago I spent Valentine’s Day recovering from a stroke at Beth Israel just two weeks after the birth of my second daughter. I dissected my carotid artery, but no one could tell me why it happened. After a six-month course of blood thinners, my artery healed and I was told that I could resume normal activities. I wish it was that easy. I faced an emotional roller coaster that most people couldn’t relate to. I was only 35 and never imagined that I could have a stroke at such a young age. I was lucky to have the love and support of family and friends.


I started running in 2014. I ran to relieve stress, gain strength, and just to feel free. I ran for me, but now I want to run for others. I had heard about Tedy’s Team and the amazing work they’ve done for the American Stroke Association and could not think of a better organization to support as I tackle the Boston Marathon. I’m hopeful that the donations I raise will help raise awareness and find answers to why these spontaneous stroke events happen to people of all ages and how they can be prevented.

I’m also on a mission to send love to those impacted by stroke, to let them know that they aren’t alone on their emotional journey. I created F.A.S.T. Tedy — a cute and huggable bear named after the warning signs of stroke (Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, Time to Call 911) and Tedy Bruschi, the New England Patriot, stroke survivor, and founder of Tedy’s Team. You can choose to buy a bear as a gift or donate one to Spaulding Rehab.

Check out our entire “Why I’m Running” series.


Editor’s note: Entries may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.