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Nurse with a passion for running encourages others to log miles for his hospital

Matthew Bailen is a critical care educator at Mercy Hospital as well as as an experienced marathon runner.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across Western New York found a number of ways to show their support for the healthcare workers. Now there's another opportunity to give back, and some of those on the front are now challenging the community to get involved.

Matthew Bailen is a Critical Care Educator at Mercy Hospital. We first introduced you to him during our Salute to Nurses Back in May, when he was deployed to St. Joseph Campus to train nurses serving at the COVID-only facility. Matt is back at Mercy now, and he's opening up about one of his other passions: running.

A dedicated marathoner for over 10 years, Matt has completed close to 30 marathons in 19 states and on four continents. He even kept up with his running routine at the height of the pandemic.

"In that period of [the] peak for COVID-19, we were working, I myself was working 6 days a week, 12-hour shifts. In your off time, you really just wanted to go and shut off, or just be by yourself," Matt told 2 On Your Side. "But, I found time to get out there, and even though it did snow until May, I did find time to get out there and start running again in April. That's something you can do. Put something into your schedule and give yourself an hour here a day, every three or four times a week to make yourself important." 

Now, Matt wants to inspire others to log some "Miles for Mercy" this month. The virtual race is replacing the regularly held Scrub Run this year to raise funds for the hospital's foundation and COVID-19 response fund. People who participate will have from September 11 to the 19 to run, bike, or walk a 10K, a 5K or a mile.

Registration for Miles for Mercy is now open here.

RELATED: Nurses describe what it's like inside at the state's only all-COVID-19 hospital