My focus when working with my community has been to show that no matter what you wear or what you look like, you can be a runner. —Ilaaf Darrat, MD, MBA
Explore This IssueNovember 2019
This year, I’ve done three marathons, which is more than usual for me.
As with other aspects of life, I believe in quality over quantity and do not run countless marathons a year. To try to stay injury free (as with all physical endeavors, injury is sometimes part of the sport), I do prioritize recovery. Besides making sure to stretch, I see a chiropractor and massage therapist once a month—I’m a big fan of both. I also see a physical therapist once in a while to ensure my gait is correct; I also see a podiatrist. I do not consider a marathon a success if I have not lost any toenails (ha ha).
ENTtoday: How did you become interested in medicine?
Dr. Darrat: I volunteered at a hospital while in high school and wanted to be a physician from then on. While in college, I was an anesthesia assistant but was always more interested in what the surgeon was doing. I had worked on a research project at the cancer center in college with a head and neck surgeon and went into otolaryngology from there. I loved the specialty’s diversity; with pediatric otolaryngology, I can combine my love for children and surgery into one.
ENTtoday: What marathons have you competed in?
Dr. Darrat: I have run 10 marathons and countless half marathon, 10 milers, 10K and 5K races. My goal had been to qualify for the Boston Marathon and I have been fortunate to have qualified twice. I am currently working on completing the World Major Marathons, which include the Boston, Chicago, New York City, Berlin, London, and Tokyo marathons. I just finished my fifth race in Berlin and have Tokyo lined up for February 2020.
ENTtoday: Any other running high-lights?
Dr. Darrat: I was fortunate to be able to be a part of the 2017 New York City Marathon opening video sequence on ESPN, as well as sit on a panel to discuss running and perseverance at the same marathon.
I’m Muslim, and I concentrate a lot of my efforts in my community regarding health and fitness. When I first started running, there were not many runners who wore a hajib, the Muslim head covering. A lot of people always asked me how I could run with all that clothing on, and so on, as well as telling me they couldn’t believe I could run and do well wearing it. My focus when working with my community has been to show that no matter what you wear or what you look like, you can be a runner.