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Mom and daughter who nearly died of COVID running Colfax 5K together

Veronica Markley was 26 weeks pregnant with Luna when she went on a ventilator for seven days, not knowing if she would wake up.

GREELEY, Colo. — Some steps are small, but despite her size, Luna Markley still gets in the miles with her mom, Veronica. 

“Yeah, I’m not pushing both kids," Veronica laughed. "I’m just pushing Luna on Sunday." 

She'll push her 15-month-old 3.2 miles in the Colfax 5K. But during a training run on Tuesday, she loaded both of her toddlers in the stroller. 

“It's really the only way I can squeeze exercise in as a mom," she said. "You know, it’s just so busy." 

Her run around her Greeley neighborhood on Tuesday was a mile. Recently, Veronica has been running one mile every day. 

"Just putting on my running shoes and hitting the pavement is like the best medicine for me," she said. 

Each step heals her, because there was a time she couldn't take them.

When Veronica was 26 weeks pregnant with Luna, COVID-19 caused her to stop breathing on her own, and she was intubated in April 2020. 

"For those first seven days, it was just total darkness," she said. "It was like, I fell asleep and I may have not woke up. You know, that’s what my doctors were saying. It was like, some people wake up and some don’t.”

Before doctors put her on a ventilator for seven days, she signed papers in case they needed to perform an emergency Cesarean section. 

“I remember waking up and I immediately looked at my belly," Veronica said. "I didn’t know what was going on. I was still really disoriented, but I immediately looked at my belly and I touched my belly and I was still pregnant. And I just can’t say--not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for that." 

The weeks and months after were not easy. 

“I started walking half a mile. I was like, I need to have this baby. I need to get my endurance up. You know, that mentality of a runner," she said. "I’ve got to get moving." 

Each foot forward brought her closer to her first race since being sick. 

“So two warrior girls hittin' the pavement with all of these other amazing people," she said. 

Veronica has run half marathons, 10 milers, and 5Ks before, but this race is her biggest step yet. 

“It’s to mark the time period of us being together and being here and being alive and thankful for that," she said. 

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