Norton Healthcare doctors, best friends, work marathon together each year

Doing almost anything is easier with your best friend by your side.

Patricia L. Isaacs, M.D., and Robin G. Curry, M.D., have been living out that saying for roughly a decade. Dr. Isaacs is a primary care physician with Norton Community Medical Associates, while Dr. Curry is an orthopedic sports medicine specialist with Norton Orthopedic Institute and Norton Sports Health. She also serves as the medical co-director for the GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon.

The two women met in medical school and became fast friends, but went on to practice medicine in different settings. Yet, they’re inseparable when not in their white coats. They hang out together, vacation together and, one weekend every year, volunteer together.

For the past several years, Drs. Curry and Isaacs have worked together at the marathon’s finish line as members of the Norton Sports Health team. Norton Sports Health is the official medical provider for the miniMarathon/marathon.

“It’s just rare to get to practice medicine together in that setting and not be in an office,” Dr. Curry said. “To be outside and under a tent with cots, it’s a little different than practicing medicine like we do in the office.”

The yearly tradition started when Dr. Curry came to Norton Sports Health and persuaded her best friend to spend some time with her during Louisville’s biggest events, including the miniMarathon/marathon and Ironman races.

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“Honestly, I just had so much fun that every year when she said please, I would say OK,” Dr. Isaacs said.

Working along the finish line allows the doctors to celebrate those who finish successfully, while providing medical attention to those who need it after the long run. Over the years, they’ve interacted with thousands of people, some of them their own patients, who stop by to say hello after crossing the finish line.

They’ve also jumped into action to help save lives. Dr. Isaacs has helped revive two people who experienced cardiac events near the finish line.

As thank-you’s for their work, the doctors have received several cards and notes from runners. Some of them still hang in Dr. Isaacs’ office in Clarksville, Indiana. One of them is from the man whose life she helped save in 2019.

The front of the card reads: “Still a party of five — because of you!”

“It is truly a volunteer opportunity. I do enjoy getting to teach some of the med students who come to work with us,” Dr. Isaacs said. “At the end of the day, it is rewarding when someone says thank you.”

The two doctors are ready for another year at the finish line, knowing they’ll have a long day ahead of them. They’ll undoubtedly see the highs and lows of the runners who pass by. They may have to spring into action yet again. What pushes them through is knowing they have each other to lean on.

“[Dr. Curry] went sports medicine, so there’s never going to be a chance for us to be in the same hallway, which is probably good, because we probably wouldn’t get much done,” Dr. Isaacs said with a laugh. “And this is the once or twice a year where we get to sit on the sidelines and talk a little bit of medicine, but more just get to kind of have fun. I get to learn a little bit from her. I think she learns a little bit from me.”

“We really look forward to it,” Dr. Curry said. “It’s a whole day. She always marks it on her calendar. For me, it’s a part of my job, but it’s not a part of hers. She doesn’t have to do that, right? She chooses to come out there to do that.”

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