Keck Medicine neurosurgeon and former patient run sixth LA Marathon


Keck Medicine of USC neurosurgeon Jonathan Russin, MD, and a patient whose life he saved have run their sixth Los Angeles Marathon together.

Russin and Kathy Nguyen started the March 20 race together, stayed side by side for the entire 26.2-mile course, and ended with “hands locked and proud,” said Kathy.

The pair have been running the marathon since 2016 after Russin operated on Kathy’s ruptured brain aneurysm in 2015 and saved her life. The two skipped the 2021 Los Angeles Marathon and instead competed in an Ironman competition in Tempe, Arizona.

Russin explained the importance of running the Los Angeles Marathon each year with Kathy.

“Kathy is such an inspiration and a validation of the work done at the Neuro Revascularization Center and by all the nurses and staff with Keck Medicine,” he said. “Her recovery and accomplishments demonstrate what is possible for our patients and reminds me of why we all chose careers in medicine in the first place — to help people get better.”

Because of Kathy, Russin has caught the endurance race bug. He is planning to compete in an Ironman this fall with other Keck Medicine physicians, and he’ll return next year for his seventh Los Angeles Marathon with Kathy.

Kathy is using her marathon running – the 2022 Boston Marathon is up next – to raise funds for aneurysm research that improves patient outcomes, raises awareness, and provides support for survivors and families through her nonprofit, WeRunWithYou. Over the years, she has raised more than $100,000 for aneurysm research at Keck Medicine.

For the record, Russin finished one second faster than Kathy – with a time of 4:25:37. Their marathon time included a break at mile one, where they were interviewed by KTLA about how they have run the marathon together six times.

Check out this Los Angeles Times article to learn more about how they originally came into each other’s lives.