For most people, medical school is a marathon in and of itself, but for Margaret Vido that challenge wasn’t enough. Ms. Vido has pushed herself to the finish line of medical school, while simultaneously competing at the highest levels of local and national long-distance road races (including placing second in the Philadelphia Women’s Full Marathon during her first year of medical school). Here, this future emergency room doctor discusses how she has balanced the demands of medicine and elite-level running.
My sister was a big influence on my decision to pursue medicine. She was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in high school. She was incredibly determined, strong and brave through all of her treatments. Her battle with cancer put things into perspective for me and exposed me to different aspects of the healthcare field. It made me realize that I wanted to go into medicine to help people like my sister when they need it most. Getting to where I am today has certainly not been a straight road, but my sister’s memory has served as my guide and I strive to honor her throughout my career.
I grew up in Nazareth, a town close to Philadelphia, and I always knew I wanted to stay close to home for my education. I attended the University of Pennsylvania for my bachelor’s and Thomas Jefferson University for my post-baccalaureate, pre-medical program. When PCOM representatives came to the Jefferson campus and talked to my class, I felt that it was a perfect fit for me. In addition to being close to home, the PCOM mission of whole-person healthcare aligned with my personal commitment to health and wellness.
I chose emergency medicine for the fast-paced atmosphere and variety of patients you come in contact with. In emergency medicine, I am able to utilize every skill I’ve learned in medical school to best serve the needs of my patients. I also get to interact with and learn from specialists from all areas of medicine.
My biggest passion outside of medicine is running. I primarily run long-distance races and have trained over the past few years for the Olympic Trials in the Marathon. The first time I qualified for Olympic Trials was during my first year of medical school in 2015. I had joined Philadelphia Runner Track Club and was working hard to reach the qualifying time for trials. My husband, who I met running at University of Pennsylvania, paced me at the Philadelphia Marathon. He pushed me to capture the time which made qualifying even more special. After qualifying, I flew to Los Angeles in February 2016 to run in the Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, I had to drop out of the race, due to unforeseen circumstances. This was the first time I’d ever dropped out of a race. I was incredibly disappointed and I promised myself that I would get faster and qualify for the next round of trials. I continued to train and reached this goal at the 2018 Philadelphia Marathon. I am happy to share that I will be competing in the 2020 Olympic Trials for the Marathon in Atlanta, Georgia in February.
Outside of running I also enjoy backpacking, fishing, hiking, and hanging out with my husband, friends and family.
If going into medicine is your dream, understand that you have a long road ahead of you. Similar to running, you will face obstacles in medical school and it’s worth putting the time and energy in to overcome them. Long term, it will all be worth it.