SUNDAY SHOWCASE: Amid the pandemic, running has been Southington woman’s outlet; she’ll pay it forward in the virutal Hartford Marathon

SUNDAY SHOWCASE: Amid the pandemic, running has been Southington woman’s outlet; she’ll pay it forward in the virutal Hartford Marathon

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SOUTHINGTON — Running has been Michelle Osuch’s outlet and refuge from a stressful seven months during the pandemic.

The 40-year-old Southington residents works as CT Scan Tech at St. Mary’s Hospital and has worked with COVID-19 patients since March.

She’s also a hair stylist at Salon Odette in Middlebury. For a time, Osuch lost her second income when beauty salons were closed.

Then there was her wedding. It was delayed due to the pandemic. Eventually, she and her husband Todd eloped in late September.

Amid the pandemic stress, there was the relief of running.

“It’s been crazy,” Osuch said. “We were having a lot of sick patients and everything was happening at once. There was a time we weren’t getting enough supplies.

“The unknowns were stressful on everyone. We didn’t know what we were dealing with. We didn’t have only concern for ourselves. I was worried about bringing the virus home. I was changing in the garage. I Lysoled my shoes and everything I touched.”

Osuch is now using her running for good this weekend in the virtual 2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon. As a member of the 2020 Inspiration Team, Osuch will be running to raise funds and awareness for Girls on the Run Greater Hartford.

Odette Scacco, the owner of Salon Odette, nominated Osuch for the Inspiration Team. She and Osuch will run the half marathon with fellow stylist Laura Andreozzi. Osuch has run the half marathon since 2014.

“Michelle is a machine,” Scacco said after running her virtual 5K on Thursday morning. “She doesn’t stop. She perseveres. She’s one of my running role models and she motivates me and everyone else. She forces us into 5’s and half marathons in the rain. She works crazy nights in the hospital and is exhausted.

“We were shutout for a few months and she was the first one that wanted us to open,” Scacco continued. “She taught us how to properly wear a mask. She rescheduled her marriage and continued to run, hike and motivate her co-workers to do so as well. When life throws you curveballs, Michelle persevered. She never complained.”

Osuch and her co-workers provide makeovers to breast cancer survivors. She also volunteers at a local animal rescue and fosters dogsi.

Osuch will run three events this weekend — 5K, 10K and half marathon — on the Linear Trail heading south out of Southington.

She ran the 10K before work late last week and the half marathon on Saturday. She’ll run the 5K on Sunday. Her registration fees will benefit local charities.

“I’m running the half marathon on Saturday because that’s the day it’s usually run and a lot of us will be running together in spirit,” Osuch said. “That gives you a boost.”

Osuch, originally from New Hampshire, has lived in Southington since 2015. She has been running for 15 years and said her times have improved with each race.

“I compete pretty good against myself,” Osuch said. “I have personal goals. I enjoy training and Laura and I made it under two hours in the half marathon last year and we want to do it again this year.”

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