PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — Running the Boston Marathon is an accomplishment for any runner, and it’s no different for Tyler Alt.
“If I’m going to do a full marathon I might as well strive for Boston.”
After qualifying during the Olathe Garmin Marathon last year, he’s ready to visit New England for the first time this weekend, ahead of Monday’s race. With excitement starting to overtake the nerves, this is a moment years in the making.
Alt experienced ringing in his right ear two years ago. Initially, he brushed off the symptom not thinking too much of it. He eventually went to see an ENT which turned into an order for an MRI. The results of that scan revealed a benign brain tumor.
Within three weeks it was removed, but Alt ultimately required a cochlear implant. The surgery and recovery stalled his marathon training.
Alt had hoped to qualify for the Boston Marathon a year ago, but because of his health it ended up being delayed.
Now, two years later, with overall good health, he’s not just running the race for himself, but for a 10-year-old girl. “This is the shirt I’ll wear on Monday, so I’ll definitely have Olivia in my mind and heart,” he said while indicating his pink t-shirt with the words The Olivia Bloomfield Foundation on it.
Olivia Bloomfield is from Leawood, Kansas where she lived with her parents and younger sister.
Alt considered them family friends, with his wife having taught Olivia in kindergarten. After being born with muscular dystrophy, Olivia was confined to a wheelchair. However, she did not let that stop her. In fact, it inspired her to change the world.
“She did so many amazing things in this community for change and inclusion and to make sure all kids could participate and be kids. At the new airport, they have things that she helped get, [like] inclusive bathrooms and things like that,” added Alt.
Not only that, but Olivia was the youngest recipient ever to receive the KC Independent’s Rising Stars award in 2022 for her work in the community and school district.
She was also named the 2021 Champion of a global urban playground design competition that focused on inclusivity for which her work inspired, according to The Olivia Bloomfield Foundation.
However, her life was cut tragically short last summer. Olivia died on July 5 while out of town in Colorado Springs. Her death prompted her parents to create
The Olivia Bloomfield Foundation, which helps fund charities and community projects dedicated to improving the lives of those with disabilities and furthering medical research devoted to congenital muscular dystrophy.
“There’s a playground in Salina, Kansas built in her name. There’s the playground at Meadowbrook Park. They helped get an inclusive playground for her there.”
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Now, Alt is using his Boston Marathon experience to raise money for the foundation. The goal is to raise $10,000, with $7,000 going toward a new wheelchair for another young girl in need. So far, Alt’s raised $8,600. He told the Bloomfield family to use the rest of the funds however they see fit.
“I feel like running’s kind of a selfish sport at times. You’re by yourself a lot, and I wanted this race to be about something much bigger than me and do some good.”