Young American Runs ‘Til She Drops – Collapses After Every Race

Meet Kayla Montgomery. Remember her name.  She is one of the best young distance runners in America. She’s also got multiple sclerosis. She collapses at the end of every race (and training session) as her leg muscles start to burn from inside.  She somehow gets through 5,000 metres before finishing and collapsing as her legs give up.

Watch this inspirational 90 second video from ABC News.

When she had to give up her favourite sport, soccer, since it was a contact sport, she didn’t moan or groan, or cry. She took up a non contact sport, running. Kayla says that she wasn’t really guaranteed the next couple of years of running and:

“I wanted to make the most out of running everyday that I could.”

Her coach classified her as an average runner. Despite this and her MS condition. She got better and better as a runner. Racing, competing, winning. Collapsing.

As her body heats up from running, the feeling in her legs deadens.”It’s a very strange feeling, or lack thereof, to know that your legs are moving but not be able to tell how fast, or tell where, or, I guess, tell anything. You don’t know what’s going on. You just know it’s happening.  Despite all of this, Kayla made the varsity team. And kept getting faster. Then Kayla trained with the boy’s team.  Then became one of the fastest girls in North Carolina.

Because she’s lost the feeling her legs, she cannot co-ordinate her feet at the end of the race and collapses. Every time.

Kayla’s coach explains why Kayla runs: “To beat it (MS). To outrun it (MS).”

“To get movement out of those legs while she still can. That’s why she’s still running.”


In her final race of her high school career, The North Carolina State Championships, she fell after the first lap. Picked herself up off the track, chased after and caught up with the pack and somehow went on to win the race (reminiscent of the great John Lanbee).

Kayla says:

“I just hope to run as long as I can.

To make the most out of it as long as I can.

When at some point down the road, I’m not able to run, at least I can look back and know that when I could, I gave it my all.”

So if you ever feel like maybe giving training a miss. Or if you ever feel like not playing, think of Kayla. If she can do it. So can you. Just think of Kayla Montgomery.



PS Kayla you inspire people all over the world. Here are three  primary school students from Links Primary School, London telling your story in 60 seconds.

44 thoughts on “Young American Runs ‘Til She Drops – Collapses After Every Race”

  1. Kayla is living her life to the full. I hope my children at Links Primary School will be inspired by her courage.

    • Miss Geary, I look forward to meeting your students at Links Primary School and sharing many more true, two minute stories.

      • Paul Smith I am a student from St. John fisher. You told us about sportsmanship and Kayla. I found out that Kayla NEVER, EVER GAVE UP on any, and I mean, any race. She is also very fast and SHE NEVER GAVE UP!

        • Yes Oliver she never gives up despite her very difficult situation. I hope Kayla inspires you to always go out and train and play and never, ever, give up!

    • Yep Brett it is a long run when you can’t feel your own legs. She has such courage. She never gives up. This is a resilient young lady. Let her inspire you. Watch the video as often as you like. It will inspire you.

  2. Hello Paul, my friends and i are doing an act about ‘Catching Kayla’. I love the story because Kayla shows how to be resilience. I hope everyone will love this story to. 🙂

    • Yes great story Joanna. And it was very well told! Let Kayla inspire you and your friends to play at least three new sports this summer. Give it a go! Kayla does!

  3. hi Paul when Kayla said that “I can’t feel my legs” it made me feel strange because her legs were there. Because she had MS.It was a really inspiring story.

    • It’s hard to imagine not being able to feel your own legs isn’t it Chehsta? That’s why these stories help people to firstly understand other people’s difficult situations, and secondly, to feel inspired by these athletes. Kayla is a wonderful young lady who should inspire you forever. Watch her video once a month just to remember her and inspire you and your friends.

  4. I really like this video because Kayla is trying her best. I enjoyed it because she never gave up.

    • Yes Maciej – this is a great young lady. Share this video with your friends and watch it once a month to inspire you to play sport and keep training. Remember try 3 new sports this summer if you can!

    • Kayla is an inspiration, Sara. Watch this video once a month to help you to keep playing sport (and try new sports too).

  5. I feel sorry for Kayla because she falls at the end of the race and she can’t feel her legs.She is a really brave girl and she has shown me to never give up.

    • Yes Aicha she is resilient. Let her inspire you and your friends. Let them see this video, in fat I suggest you all watch it once a month.

  6. Kayla is a resilient runner she wanted to keep going but her legs don’t want to keep going. I’m glad she’s brave.

    • Yes Samia, Kayla is amazing. I hope she inspires you to do more sport. Remember try 3 new sports this summer.

  7. This is really my favourite story,Kayla is an inspiring person,when i don’t want to run i think of her and try my best to never give up she’s my person of courage in sport and a true sportsmanship person.

    • Good point Maysoun, she has both determination and the ability. Everyone has a lots of abilities but many never discover them because they don’t try enough new things. Remember to try 3 new sports this summer!

  8. Kayla’s story is a heart touching because even though she had ms she never gave up on her running. She kept on trying and she practised her running day and night.

    • Saba you are right. No matter how tough it is, Kayla, literally, picks herself up and tries again the next day. So never miss a training session nor never turn down the offer to play in an game or sport. Enjoy the moment! Remember try 3 sports this summer.

    • Yes Yousef, Kayla keeps trying. Let her inspire you to run as fast as you can! Watch this video once a month to inspire you and your fiends.

  9. I liked this story because she never gave up and showed resilience. She pushed herself to the limits. I hope the people at links never give up either.

    • Well said Paul. Kayla has great resilience. And I hope this story helps you to be resilient whenever ‘the going gets tough’ . Check out the resilience of the Japanese gymnast in 1976 in the book – more resilience despite the pain, he is a real team player.

  10. I loved this video, it was really sweet and had a fantastic message. So bravo Paul for putting this video up.

    • Thanks Yasmina. You know I feel uplifted every time I watch this video. I recommend everyone should watch this video once a month! So do come back and watch it and please tell other people about it.

    • I think Kayla does believe in herself, Toby. She has great courage. Let her courage inspire you to always play sport (and train hard).

    • I agree Ayaan, some people are not as lucky as we are. We have good health.So be sure to use this gift and play more sport – everyday! Remember, try at least 3 new sports this summer.

    • Yes Aneesa, Kayla has great determination. Remember this when things go wrong. Never give up. Keep trying. That’s what Kayla does. Check out the Wilma Rudolph (1960) story in the book – she was told shed never walk but she and her mother were determined to keep trying. They never gave up. And she went on to win gold in the Olympics as a sprinter!

  11. Kayla’s story is heart touching she has a heart of a lion. She never gave up on sport. Kayla is amazing!

  12. Hi Paul I’m from Links Primary School. Kayla (in the story ‘Catching Kayla’ is very resilient and I hope you enjoyed our mini plays today.

  13. May I ask you a quick Question? You know when you tell a story can it be made up? And how do you do it?

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