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Marathon Running Experts 

Throughout your marathon-training journey, the following UPMC Sports Medicine experts are here to provide you with expert advice.
Do you have a general question for one of our sports medicine experts? Ask us on Twitter, and we’ll do our best to provide a timely answer.  
 

 

Leslie Bonci, RD
Director, Sports Nutrition

Areas of expertise:

Ms. Bonci is a nutrition consultant to organizations in Pittsburgh and nationwide, including Pittsburgh's own Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates. Among her many other roles, Ms. Bonci blogs for Runner’s World magazine and serves on the editorial advisory board of Fitness magazine.

Fun Fact

Ms. Bonci has personally completed SEVEN marathons.

Her words of advice: “If someone offers you something on a tongue depressor during the race, DON'T EAT IT!”

 

Heather Christian, PT 
Physical Therapist

Areas of expertise:

Ms. Christian is an outpatient physical therapist who treats a variety of musculoskeletal injuries, both sports and non-sports-related. ​ ​

Fun Fact

Ms. Christian has run the Chicago Marathon and several half marathons after rehabilitating from hip arthroscopy.

 

Ron DeAngelo, MS
Director, UPMC Sports Performance

Areas of expertise:

  • Biomechanics of running
  • Injury prevention
  • Strength training for runners
  • Active stretching
  • Functional movement assessment​

​Mr. DeAngelo works with active people of all levels to help them prevent injury and perform at new heights. A Fellow of Applied Functional Science, he is an expert on biomechanics, the science behind human movement and performance. He also is certified as an athletic trainer, strength and conditioning specialist, and performance enhancement specialist.

Fun Fact

Mr. DeAngelo is nationally known for training many notable sports stars, including NFL All-Pro players and NBA All-Stars. He trains runners to overcome a variety of obstacles and achieve their marathon goals.

Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopaedic Surgeon and Director, Performance and Research Initiative for Master's Athletes

Areas of expertise:

  • Marathon 101
  • Cross-training
  • Aging athletes
  • Orthopaedic injuries
  • Bone strength/density​

An orthopaedic surgeon, author, and researcher, Dr. Wright treats patients of all ages with a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. She specializes in shoulder, hip, and knee arthroscopy and also is known for empowering adults over age 40 to maximize their performance and minimize injury.​

Learn how to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright.

​Fun Fact

Dr. Wright’s running claim-to-fame is completing three Chicago marathons and running multiple half-marathons and other road races – some of them alongside her 72-year-old father or with her young daughter in tow. She also wrote the official cross-training program of the Pittsburgh Marathon.

Aaron Mares, MD
Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician

Areas of expertise:

​Dr. Mares treats all types of sports and non-sports-related musculoskeletal conditions. He also serves as an associate team physician for the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Fun Fact

Dr. Mares has served on the Pittsburgh Marathon's medical team since 2009. An avid runner himself, he personally has completed the New York City Marathon and numerous half marathons. 

Kathleen Nachazel, ATC
Certified Athletic Trainer

Areas of expertise:

​For nearly 20 years, Ms. Nachazel has been a member of the Pittsburgh Marathon's Medical Advisory Board, where she currently serves as medical operations director. She also serves as assistant director of the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine facility.

Fun Fact

In addition to her marathon expertise, Ms. Nachazel also has worked as an athletic trainer with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for more than 20 years.

 

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