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Relay Runner for the MS Run the US 2017 Relay
What: The MS Run the US - 2016 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 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.
Location: Sandy, UT.
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT.
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/summer.stout.10
Follow my journey: Instagram: @summystout
SEGMENT: # 5: Nephi, UT to Vernal, UT – http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/410040738
Runner Story: Hey friends, I'm Summer! I have been a runner for over 15 years now and it's one of my favorite things to do. I began running on my own in highschool. It was a mode of therapy for me as I grew up with a mother who suffers a mental illness. I ran off and on after that and ran my first full marathon in 2006! I was hooked! From that moment on running has been a big part of my life. It's helped me throughout my life as a mode of therapy and an opportunity to reflect. In 2009, I suffered a running injury and found weight lifting which I now love equally as much and I do not know how I would live without either of the two.
As my running career continues to flourish, I always try to find new ways that I can use it to make a difference. It has helped me in so many ways, if I can use it to help others then I feel it is a win-win. That is the neat thing about running - it gives a sense of community. This is why I knew I needed to do this. Not only because of the mental and physical challenge, but because of the opportunity to run for those who can't, spread awareness and give back through something that I truly enjoy.
My personal connection to MS is through my career. I am a registered nurse at the University of Utah. Going into nursing, I always imagined myself working in the ER, however; I began my career on a trauma neuro rehab unit where I eventually specialized in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and stroke. Every shift there was at least one patient that I cared for who was admitted for exacerbation of MS. I would care for them and then often times they would come back and I would care for them again. I saw first hand the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis to my patients and their families. As my nursing career grew, neuro-nursing grew closer to my heart as did my patients and my colleagues each became my second family.
In 2009, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that limited my ability to be outside and I'M A RUNNER! In 2015, I was again diagnosed with another autoimmune disease. I am able to enjoy the beautiful Wasatch Mountains again, however; when I think of how lucky I am in that neither of these diseases have limited my neurological function - it reinforces that I need to give back.
In May of 2015, I was asked to run a portion of Courtney Rotolo's segment as she had recently suffered an injury. I didn't know what the relay was, nor did I know Courtney. All I knew was that I was available and segment 5 was near my home. I drove to Vernal that weekend and ran 20 miles for Courtney over the course of two days. I WAS BLOWN AWAY. The team, the mission, the crew and the love that went into this relay. I knew that I needed to be a part of it. I can make a difference as a nurse, but this journey will allow me to make a difference in a bigger way.
I do not pretend to know what it is like to have MS. I have no idea. What I do know is that I have something that allows me to help. What I do know is that what these individuals and their families go through every day requires discipline, love, hope and mental strength. This is what I plan to put into practice with every 180 miles.
I CAN run a marathon every day for 7 days straight for each person who cannot. I can run it for their families. I can run it knowing, that each step I run is a step towards awareness and hopefully someday a cure for my fellow man.
I am so excited to begin this journey and I am honored to be a part of this mission.
THANK YOU for being a part of a worthwhile cause, and also for carrying me along my journey! With movement we can affect CHANGE.