Kelli McDonald 2017


MS Run the US - 2017 Relay

Kelli McDonald 2017

Relay Runner for the MS Run the US - 2017 Relay

What:  The MS Run the US - 2017 Relay is a 3,000 - mile relay across America to raise awareness and funds to help CURE Multiple Sclerosis (MS)!  The Relay begins in April 2017 in Los Angeles, CA and is completed in August 2017 in New York, NY.

Eighteen (18) runners have been selected to run on average 170-miles over six consecutive days during their individually assigned segment.  Each runner dedicates a week of running on the road with the Relay, while collectively the Relay spans a distance and duration of 3,000-miles in 4 months.

Bio Overview:

I am a mom of three amazing and energetic kids, Evan is 11, Faith is 9 and Alex "Bubba" is 7 and wife to a very supportive husband, Paul.  I am a substitute teacher, a phone and tablet repair lady and I also sell health insurance. Paul and I have lived in the Plainfield/Joliet area since 1999 which is why I love running Segment 13 of the relay...I get to run "home." This is my fourth year as a relay runner!!

Grew up in: Lansing, IL

Lives in: Joliet, IL

Segment:  #13 Davenport, IA - Joliet, IL
July 4-8, 2017; 146 miles in five days


Runner Story:

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” -T.S. Eliot

2017 is my fourth year as a relay runner.  Many people ask me why I keep running.  It's an easy question to answer really. My mom still has MS, there is no cure yet and my legs are still working...why not?

By now just about everyone knows my why. Twenty-eight years ago my family was diagnosed with MS. What you say? Your entire family? Yes, in a way the entire family was diagnosed with MS with my mom being the main person hit with the disease. I had just finished up 8th grade, my brother 4th. Back in 1989 I knew nothing about MS and neither did anyone in my family. We knew no one who had it either. For all we knew, MS was a death sentence, but it's not and my mom is proof of it.

My mom, Peggy, is my inspiration and my hero.  I would absolutely do anything for her. My mom was diagnosed with MS in 1989 and I have since walked, dedicated a triathlon season and have run over 450 miles (not including the training runs) to raise funds and awareness for MS. My mom's form of MS initially was relapsing/remitting and it had devastating effects on her both physically and mentally.  She was a preschool teacher just having earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, an avid dancer (point to say the least) and painter.  I saw firsthand what this disease can do whenever it wants.  It took so much from her but the one thing it didn't touch was her spirit and will to fight this disease. I run for her and the over 2.5 million individuals, both young and old, that have MS worldwide.

Each year I meet more people that have been diagnosed with MS which just solidifies the reason I continue my journey.  There was a man that I met while I was doing a “tag day” at Walmart in Plainfield in 2015.  I was the third person he had told about his diagnosis which was several years ago. He was so amazed at what I was going to do, what all of the relay runners were going to do, that he was speechless.  I saw him again in 2016 at another tag day at a different Walmart. He gave me a huge hug and even remembered my name! I had another man walk up to me and ask if he could give me a hug because he had MS. Each person I have met who has MS leaves an imprint on my heart that I can’t let go and for each of them I keep running.  We all have one thing in common at least...MS and the need to find a cure!