Sometimes you have the most amazing experiences when you move through life with no expectations. Such was exactly my fate when I went to pace Robin Arzon at the MSRunTheUS.com run across America. Didn’t think twice…friend needs a pacer…done deal…just start driving South.
Come to find out, the MSRunTheUS.com is a relay of only 16 runners who will cover 3000 miles this summer. Upon arriving at KOA I met up with Robin and a host of other people, including a documentary crew filming Robin along with the crew for the MS Run. I didn’t exactly sort out who was who until the next morning when I found out that Ashley Kumlien was THE crew for MS Run The US. She’s the support crew, the motorhome driver, the cook, the route scout and whatever other “the” hat needs to be worn. Wait, I forgot to mention, Ashley is also the driving force behind the charity. Wait, AND she is only 29 years old, AND she’s run across America herself already.
HONESTLY !! Where do I find these people?
So Ashley and I had a chance to catch up the other day. Here’s our interview:
TAUR: So when did you start MSRunTheUS.com and why?
Ashley: I started it when I was 25. My mom was diagnosed in 1980 with MS and I was born in 1984. I’ve lived my entire life seeing my mom’s very active lifestyle become more and more limited.
TAUR: How limited is your mom now?
Ashley: The disease has really progressed in the last 3 years. She can not longer write but she can still walk on her own with help. She’s lost most of her fine motor skills. She still has function in her hands but not much control.
TAUR: What the definition of MS?
Ashely: MS is a disease of the central nervous system that inhibits the connection between the brain and the body. Scars on neurons, called lesions, are the cause. It can affect your sight, motor skills and cognitive functions.
TAUR: So, you have already run across America yourself, correct?
Ashley: Yes, in 2010. I left San Francisco on March 22 and finished in New York City on September 28th.
TAUR: Had you done any ultra marathons before your run across America?
Ashely: I got the idea after running only 3 half marathons but by the time I started the run I had completed three 50 milers.
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TAUR: What was it like on a daily basis?
Ashely: I had an initial plan of running 6 days a week then one day off but I found it was better to run 6 full marathons then do two half marathon days for rest.
TAUR: What was the biggest change you experienced in yourself?
Ashely: Doing what is important to you IS the most important thing in life. For me, that means being of service to others and charity work. And, I created the relay in my head while running across America.
TAUR: What are you hoping will come of the relay you’ve developed?
Ashley: Raise awareness and inspire people to run and donate to help find a cure for MS.
TAUR: What is the most amazing thing you’ve seen so far during the relay?
Ashley: The thing I love the most is that every runner walks away understanding that they can do anything they set their minds to.
TAUR: How about a shout out to your sponsors and anything else we should know?
Ashley: Yes, thank you to MoneyMutual, Michael Sampson Events and Design by Theory.
Also, we are lining up runners for 2014!! Runners will average 140 miles over 7 days.
Contact us on our website MSRunTheUS.com