Some of you may have heard of Kayla Montgomery, but if not, you are in for a treat this Motivational Monday. Kayla is a nineteen year-old college freshman who just finished her first season of cross-country at the collegiate level. What makes Kayla’s story so motivational is that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) during her freshman year of high school. Her MS is treated with medication, but she continues to experience its effects, which include the loss of feeling in her legs after intense physical exertion (like distance running). She literally collapses into the arms of one of the coaching staff at the end of the race.
Despite the effects of her MS, she performed at an exceptional level in high school. She competed in the North Carolina Class 4A state cross-country championship, which she won. Montgomery also participated in the 2013 Footlocker South regional 5K (17:22). When it came time to look at colleges, there was quite a bit of interest–starting in her junior year. However, when most schools found out about her MS, they decided not to move forward.
One school, Lipscomb University, discussed her case internally and decided that they would love to have Kayla run for the school. She has done very well running at the collegiate level. At her debut cross-country meet, she ran 17:34.8 (18th out of 293).
Warm conditions exacerbate the loss of feeling in her legs (it causes her body temperature to rise more quickly, resulting in an earlier onset of numbness). Despite the loss of feeling in her legs, she completes intense workouts with the team–often needing to be caught after collapsing at the end of the workout. I think Kayla Montgomery is such a wonderful inspiration and source of motivation. Although the physical effects of running are tremendous, she continues to train and race with her team and her heart.