Kristen Kelly's Page


MS Run the US - 2016 Relay

Los Angeles, California

Kristen Kelly's Page

Relay Runner for the MS Run the US - 2016 Relay

Runner Story:

For me, running, moving, and being outdoors is everything. If I’m not able to get outside each and every day, I am not myself. I need that fresh air--that adrenaline from the cool morning breeze. It’s my time to be 100 percent me. Running puts me in a meditative state that reminds me of who I am and the things that are truly important to me. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.

So, when the doctor told me that I would need major surgery to treat my ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease I had battled with seriously for the previous five years, my very first thought was…will I be able to run? The doctor doubted it, especially long distances.

Not being able to run terrified me. I wanted to sprint into the forest and hide--never to be found again. I couldn’t avoid the surgeries, but I could deal with their physical discomfort. Clipping my wings hurt most. I felt trapped.

One blurry year and five invasive surgeries later, I was physically wasted and an emotional wreck. My mom is my rock and my best friend; I cannot imagine a day without her. But I found myself pushing away the people I cared about most. The pain in their eyes was worse than the open wounds and scars I had to deal with, but I couldn’t handle anything emotionally.

After my surgeries, I took my first steps around the hospital gardens, then around my hospital campus. My distances gradually increased, and after I went home I started walking the entire way to my hospital visits – 9 1/2 miles round trip.

One day on the way home from the hospital, with my apartment in sight, tentatively, I started to jog. This eventually progressed into running and then interval workouts that included some sprinting. It was painful and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t doing any damage, and it was oh-so exhilarating! I had a spark, and I didn’t let it go. 

My doctors were shocked--and defied. As long as I wasn’t harming my surgeries, they allowed it.  

Off and running, physically and mentally, I went right home and signed up for my first marathon, The Athens Authentic Marathon. Months later, after crossing the finish line, I started crying, joyfully and uncontrollably.

I felt empowered. I had no physical limitations, and for the first time in years I was emotionally repaired.

After more 10ks than I can remember, a half marathon, two full marathons, and a 50k, I found myself looking for the next challenge. After what I’d been through, I felt invincible and ready to take on anything.

That is, until last winter, when I found out my mom has multiple sclerosis. The news punched me in the gut and swept away my confidence.

I had to do something. I resolved to not just watch the days tick by. I found MS Run The U.S. and knew running 146 miles in six days to raise money for such an important cause was exactly what I needed to help my mom and many others find a cure.

I want every person with MS to have the same hope for a healthy life that I had when I accepted surgeries as my ulcerative colitis treatment, and I want them to see their futures full of activity and movement, just like what running brings to me.

Please help me raise awareness and money for a cure for MS!

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What: The MS Run the US - 2015 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 2016 in Los Angeles, CA and is completed in August 2016 in New York, NY.

Eighteen (18) runners have been selected to run on average 160-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:

Location: Seattle, WA

Hometown:   Waterford, MI

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Segment(s): Segment 13 -  Davenport, IA to Joliet, IL.  146 miles over 5 days. (July 5-9, 2016)

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