Photo of Lori Kemp's shoes

Step by step: the Return to Running

Guest post by Lori Kemp

For Lori Kemp, running has always been connected to multiple sclerosis (MS). It was a probable MS diagnosis that prompted her to start training for a half marathon back in 2011.

“When I was 25, I lost sight in my left eye due to optic neuritis (a condition that is commonly linked to MS). Unfortunately, the damage to the optic nerve became permanent and my vision never came back. Seven years later and after the birth of my third child, I experienced numbness in my hands, so I headed to the MS Clinic in Winnipeg. An MRI scan revealed poor results; a number of lesions where the neurologist said they’d typically see lesions in people with MS. At that point, I felt like an MS diagnosis was imminent.

I’d always wanted to run a half marathon and after that poor MRI, I decided to do it while I still could. My sister registered with me and we trained together, completing a half marathon three months later.

After that, with three young children, my own business to run, and a new MS diagnosis to manage, I put running on the backburner. As my kids grew older, having two hockey players and a figure skater under my roof meant practices, tournaments, and competitions that kept me very busy. But all of that disappeared during the past few months because of COVID-19.

Suddenly, I had free time. I started going outside and running one mile, two miles, three miles – and figured that I could actually make it five or six miles. MS can sometimes play with your mind and make you doubt yourself. Before I started, I don’t think I thought I could run five or six miles. 

Quickly getting into my previous running routine, I started using a running app to track the miles I ran and after 30 days, I saw that I’d run over 100 miles – something I never thought was possible.

During this time, running has been an escape from being in the house and doing nothing. This summer, I’ve been way better. I feel better, I feel stronger, I feel like I can handle more.

My neighborhood has terrific trails and I enjoy running on those. My husband and oldest son often run with me.  My son was only two when I lost the sight in my left eye. I was terrified when I heard MS was a possibility- my biggest fear was being in a wheelchair when he was in his teens. He has just turned 18 and we go on five mile runs together. It’s fantastic.”

If you’ve returned to running during the pandemic or have had your usual races cancelled, MS Run Presented by Running Room is a way to make your kilometers count and run at your own pace while raising much-needed funds for Canadians like Lori who are living with multiple sclerosis. Register for MS Run and make your kilometers count this September!

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