BURLA TO UNDERGO SURGERY FOR MALIGNANT TUMOR
By David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
NEW YORK (21-Feb) -- Promising USA distance runner Serena Burla will
undergo surgery here on Friday for a malignant tumor in her leg.
"About three weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my right hamstring during a check-up for a nagging right knee irritation," the 27 year-old Burla wrote in a statement to friends which she subsequently approved for public release. "The good news is that it has not spread to other parts of my body. I'll undergo surgery and further treatment at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City next Friday."
Burla's medical problem was initially reported to Race Results Weekly by her coach, Isaya Okwyia, who is a medical doctor.
Born Serena Ramsey, Burla, from Ellisville, Mo., competed for the University of Missouri where she was the Big 12 runner-up at both 5000m and 10,000m in 2006. She married Missouri teammate, shot-putter Adam Burla, and the couple had a son, Boyd, in December, 2008. She came back strongly from maternity leave last June, taking second at the NYRR New York Mini 10-K, clocking 33:04 on a hilly course.
Under Okwyia, Burla discovered her abilities at the longer end of the distance running spectrum. She finished 17th (second American) at the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships last October in a then personal best of 1:10:55. She dropped that time to 1:10:08 at the 2010 USA Half-Marathon Championships in Houston this January, finishing second to Olympic bronze medallist, Shalane Flanagan. Burla had planned to compete in the NYC Half-Marathon on March 21, but withdrew from the race after getting her diagnosis.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support and prayers," Burla continued. "As usual, I have my game face on and plan on fighting through this."