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Portage woman runs Zeigler Kalamazoo Half Marathon on anniversary of day she almost died

Original story from News Channel 3.

The Zeigler Kalamazoo Marathon is this Sunday and News Channel 3 is a proud sponsor of the event.

Nearly 300 people have been training for the races by attending run camps the last five months.

For one woman from Portage, April 23 also marks the day she could have died.

It's early on a Saturday morning, and the neon jackets are brighter than the sunrise.

While most people are sleeping in, Roza is warming up for a 6-mile run around downtown Kalamazoo.

Her Run Camp team poses for a quick selfie before they hit the streets.

She's one of dozens of people training since December for the Zeigler Kalamazoo Half Marathon this weekend.

"It’s my social thing to do right now, to be around everybody and just have goals, meet those goals, and you have a support system behind you," Roza said.

Roza from Portage gets ready to run 6 miles with her Run Camp team as they train for the Zeigler Kalamazoo Half Marathon on April 23, 2023. (Image: Jessica Harthorn)

"There was literally a priest in my room reading me my last rites," Roza said.

In 2018, Roza was training for a 10K when she went into respiratory failure. As she was battling an asthma attack, her lungs were shutting down, ultimately putting her into a coma for 11 days.

Roza says doctors were running out of options and decided to use an experimental treatment to open her lungs, and it worked.

"They were like, do you know why you’re here? And I was like, yeah, I had an asthma attack. I couldn’t pull myself out of it," Roza said.

Roza spent nearly a month recovering in hospitals, but was eventually able to walk out on her own two feet. Four months later, she ran her first 10K.

"It’s amazing, it’s amazing. I really feel like your body, your mind, and your soul need to be all in place for things to happen, and my mind was already there," Roza said.

Now every year on April 23rd, she tries to find something fun to do to commemorate her miraculous recovery. This year, she's back at it again.

"Everything in life is preparation, 80% the rest is just doing it," Roza said.

And with a big smile on her face, she says she'll never let the past slow her down.

The Zeigler Kalamazoo Marathon is this Sunday, April 23. Runners can participate in the full and half marathon, 10K, and 5K run/walk.


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