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He’s been on the frontline since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now a local doctor hopes to cross the finish line at Sunday’s Chicago Marathon.

Throughout the pandemic, Dr Ernie Wang has provided updates from the frontlines.

“The last year and a half has been absolutely life changing for me as a physician, as a person,” he said. “It’s been a journey. It’s been a marathon in its own way. … When the country shut down, when the world shut down, we kept going.”

The emergency medicine physician hasn’t stopped. He’s now caring for patients who long put off their basic healthcare needs.

“It’s sad to see people with reversible or treatable conditions that come in later on in the course,” he said. “It’s tragic, but this is the wake of COVID.”

It’s just one of the reasons Wang is running Sunday’s marathon.

“I’m a big believer in exercise as a form of medication,” he said. “It’s free medication. Wou just have to do it every day. I said, ‘You know what? If Covid doesn’t get me, this will because I’ve never done a marathon before. I’ve never run this far in my life.”

He’s looking forward to the finish line and seeing his healthcare colleagues who work the event.

“At the medical tent I’m going to know a lot of the volunteers. I told them have my beer ready,” he said.

But there’s deeper meaning behind all the miles he’s logged.

For me it’s been symbolic in a lot of way of a long journey to help fight Covid. Everybody in healthcare has been working full gas. I really am running this for every healthcare worker who is working on the frontlines, on the backlines, upstairs, downstairs, everybody is in this marathon and I’m doing this on behalf of them and acknowledging all of their efforts. There’s no time to stop.

Dr Ernie Wang