Runner Natalie Lehto

June 2023

I had a chance to chat with Natalie Lehto, marathon runner, fitness and lifestyle coach, and author of “Like the Glide of a Dragonfly”, a book about psychological trauma and healing written after her experience in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Here’s what she had to say about her experience, her book, and her life now:

Bayview: You’ve changed a great deal since the race ten years ago - and in ways, you may think of these changes as positive, that they made you a stronger person. Perhaps you could say - in a strange sort of way - it was a “gift”. In what ways do you consider your experience a “gift”?

Natalie: You know that redundant cliché, of when you’re younger and your parents tell you what you should do and why, always following up with, “I know because I am older and experienced.” And you follow up with an eye roll or not listening, to years later when you have those, “Ah ha” moments and wish you would have listened or finally understood what your parents were trying to tell you all those years earlier? When you can’t see it in the moment, but when the time is right, the understanding shines. I relate that
same notion to your question.

Was experiencing what we did a gift? Absolutely not. Was living with these fears, memories and demons for the past ten years a gift? Nope. Was living through terror with my family a gift?
Not for a second.

Ten years later, do I understand now and see the gifts that came from the terribleness of my life? Yes. It took time and it takes time for these things to surface. The gift was not that day’s events or what followed. The gift was the strength that slowly became to be. The strength of building the broken pieces back up and making it stronger each time (like our muscles do after workouts). The friendships that followed and blossomed.

The biggest gift has been recently, as a result of my publication, the outpour of people that I know or do not know who have reached out to thank me for sharing my struggles. The strangers, who I’ve never met that sent letters, emails, cards, and shared with me stories of their own. And the biggest gift of all… when I’m able to look my kids in the face and say, “We went through something horrible together, but look at how we have risen and strengthened ourselves from it.”

Bayview: You wrote your book, “Like the Glide of a Dragonfly” to share your experiences with others so they can rise above PTSD. What advice - in a nutshell - do you share with readers?

Natalie: PTSD can come in any shape or form, from any event, experience, conversation, or more. It can be encompassing and can feel like it is stronger than you. The reality is that, YOU ARE stronger than it. PTSD never goes away. It is a daily battle. BUT ... every day you find the tools that help you quiet it and remind it that you are actually stronger. Every day could be a different tool, and that’s ok. Fill up your toolbox as best as you can.

Bayview: What advice do you have for people who have not experienced trauma and have encounters with people who have?

Natalie: When you come in contact with someone who has been through something traumatic (and reminder that we do not possess the right to decide what trauma is for someone else), do NOT ask them about it. Ask them HOW THEY ARE. How THEY are doing. And if they chose to open up more, then be a listener. LISTEN. Don’t give advice and don’t compare with your own story! Listen. Hug. Smile. Cry if needed. But just listen. If they don’t want to talk, then you have done the right thing by asking them first how they are doing!

Bayview: If you could describe your philosophy of life in two sentences, what would they be? How have you lived your life to sync with that philosophy?


A) Don’t talk about it, do it.

B) Finish stronger than you start.

This is hard for me to answer. I feel like I’m not being very humble if I do. I can simply state that I constantly dream things, think things, set goals, and just start doing them. And see them through as best as I can. And I always believe that whatever it is, you need to finish it and be proud. Sprint in - even if you just walked the race! But I’m not simply talking fitness. Examples for me; travelling, learning to knit, learning guitar, trying to cook difficult recipes, crafting, writing the book, learning to golf, etc.

Bayview: Do you have anything else you would like to add for our readers?

Natalie: This is my story to date. These are my memories. These are my opinions, ideas, feelings, emotions, suggestions. It does not mean any of it is right or correct. It doesn’t mean it is what you should do or feel. This is me. We all go through crap. We all have our moments. Can you find the gift to get through them one day? Can you be okay with change? Can you glide and finish strong when it counts?

“Like the Glide of a Dragonfly” can be purchased online at Amazon, Kindle and Kobo. You can also contact Natalie at or pick up a copy at Fresh Air Experience, Wanson Lumber, The Kitchen Nook, or George’s Market and Celebrations.

Donna White is an accomplished author and Jubilee Medal winner for her volunteer work with World Vision. Visit her website at

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