#RunningForResearch 2020: Oliver Layco

Posted:Monday, February 24, 2020

Running takes you places; not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. Running led me to my career as a massage therapist, strengthening my ability to help others and be the best I can be.

While training for my third marathon I became interested in learning how to best maintain my body. I quickly learned how intertwined the worlds of running and massage are. The more I learned about the impact massage has on health and well-being, the more I wanted to be able to help other people using this knowledge. At the time, I was working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), which gave me the ability to help people in the short term; becoming a massage therapist has allowed me to continue being of service to others but in a different way.

I completed 1,250 hours of hands-on massage therapy training at National Holistic Institute (NHI), including a 450-Hour Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program, which put a strong emphasis on the importance of research to be able to help our clients. Many of the other students in the program were not only massage therapists, but also physical therapists, chiropractors, nurses, athletic trainers, and more. After school, I went into practice. I also kept on running, completing ten full marathons.

The dream of running the Boston Marathon had always been a major item on my bucket list, but I fell short of having a qualifying time. When I learned of the possibility of running Boston as a charity fundraiser for the Massage Therapy Foundation I could not have been more excited! When I started looking into MTF, I found that the work that they do to fund research and support research literacy among massage therapists perfectly aligns with my values of using research to make myself a better therapist and be able to give clients the best possible care. Being able to unite my love of running and my passion for massage therapy research is truly living the dream.

When I crossed my first marathon finish line, I never would have guessed that years later I would be preparing to run Boston or that I would be doing this to support research in a profession I knew little about at the time. It’s still wild to me that with the support of friends, family, and so many others I have run the streets of New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Sacramento, and soon-to-be-added Boston. Even just writing those words has my emotions building up. I am so grateful to everybody who has shown that they care as I train for this race. It’s a long road ahead, but with your support I know I’ll continue to keep on pushing forward.

Please click here to support me as I run the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2020 to raise funds and awareness for the Massage Therapy Foundation

About MTF

The Massage Therapy Foundation is a 501(c)3 providing support to the massage therapy profession. Since 1990, MTF has provided over $1 million in research grants studying the science behind therapeutic massage. The Foundation founded and publishes an open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal and provides many educational resources for massage therapists, educators, and students. MTF provides community service grants to populations in need of therapeutic massage who would otherwise lack access. For more information, please visit www.massagetherapyfoundation.org.