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Stay Awake Treadmill Challenge

Do you want to be inspired by someone defying their physical limitations? It’s likely the furthest place you have to go is your mirror.  Despite your best excuses, you can defy the limitations you impose on yourself.

But you don’t understand, Ashley! You don’t have knee problems/children/back pain/an over-demanding boss…

I couldn’t agree more that life can be demanding at times, and though I am young, I know from experience that if you want something bad enough you can achieve it.  If you don’t, then insert excuse here.

To properly prove my point, meet Larry Kelly.  I first spoke to Larry over the phone during his interview as a potential Relay Runner for MS Run the US.  After some small talk I asked, “So, how did you get into running?”.  His reply gave me chills.  A self-proclaimed road biker with bad knees Larry read the book Born To Run by Christopher McDougall.  He was so inspired by the content of the book that he went to work.  After some research he changed his running form and started logging miles.  A few miles turned into many, and it turned out his bad knees were all but frustrated with his prior running mechanics.  Larry ran his first trail marathon (26.2 miles) in June of 2011.  He writes, “I trained, ran the marathon and loved every stinking, hot, sweaty minute! I was hooked and gave up the biking to become a runner. I’ve now done the Mickelson Trail marathon twice, the Des Moines marathon twice, St. Louis marathon and the Greater Omaha Area Trailrunners (GOATz) 50K. And I am now training to run my first 100miler, the Lean Horse Ultra in South Dakota on August 24, 2013.”

Knowing Larry has been such a privilege.  His recent fundraising event brought tears to my eyes many times as I saw the butterfly effect of MS Run the US work through an inspiring individual determined to fund the cure to MS.

With our first fundraising deadline nearing, Larry set up a 24-hour treadmill challenge.  The idea was simple and easy; stay aerobic for 24 hours, or 24 minutes, or as long as you could stand, all while participating in-person or virtually (at your location) in a group challenge.  The participation fee was simple and easy too, just a $15 donation.

What happened during the 24-hour treadmill challenge this past weekend (Jan 25-26th) was absolutely amazing.  It’s an illustration of what just one person can do!  Larry didn’t run alone.  He came with a pack of GOATz.  And though Larry provided the opportunity, each of the participants voluntarily left their limitations at home for the greater good of the cause.  With their limitations at home, Larry was also able to fair exceed his donation goal; I know this for certain as I spent much of my Fri/Sat time forwarding him all of the donations that were being contributed.  One, after another, after another totaling well over $3,700 in fundraising!

In the end, lives were changed.  Larry posted on Facebook, “I have NEVER heard of anyone doing 100 miles on a treadmill, let alone KNOW anyone doing it! Well, yesterday that changed. During the MS fundraiser “The 24hr Stay Awake Treadmill Challenge” Bobbie Altheimer Ruhs did just that! Every single mile was on the treadmill…AMAZING!
Many of the 60+ runners set new distance PRs…here a just a few (name, old PR, new PR in miles): Bobbie -62-100; Jamie Duff Plucker- 13.1-55; Tim Rasmussen – 26.2-72; Chris Hug – 13.1-50.

As I ran alone this morning I let a few gentle, cold tears fall down my cheeks.  I thought of my mom, with MS, sitting on her couch at home.  I thought of her positivity and bright spirit the infected me with the idea to run across America and to create a Relay.  I thought of my first words with Larry, and of his treadmill challenge this past weekend.  I thought of this woman named Bobbie who ran 100 miles for the first time in her life, Jamie & Chris who more than quadrupled the most miles they’ve ever run at once, and Tim who crushed his marathon distance by three times.  I knew without a doubt that the ability to run more miles then we have expected of ourselves is not a gift all my own. It’s a gift available to those willing to leave their limitations at home.

Thank you, Larry, for all those that you inspire! I can’t wait to meet you and your GOATz this summer : )

For more on Larry’s Stay Awake 24-hour Treadmill Challenge read these great accounts of the experience:

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  • by ashleyk
  • posted at 3:00 PM
  • January 28, 2013