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).
“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.