Kayla Montgomery – Never Stop

By now, Kayla Montgomery has a pretty good understanding of how each race she runs is going to end. Win or lose, toward the end of the race, she’ll lose feeling in her legs and painfully collapse into her coaches arms, sobbing as she crosses the finish line.

“No matter how often it happens, it’s always a feeling of shock when you lose feeling in your legs,” Montgomery said. “At first, it would freak me out a little bit. I would get very emotional about it, but eventually it becomes the new norm. You learn to accept it and fight through it.”  Most runners would consider quitting but not Kayla.

It’s become a way of life for Montgomery since she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a teenager in 2009. The diagnosis came after she fell hard on her tailbone and injured herself playing soccer. Shortly thereafter, she began experiencing a loss of feeling in both of her feet. It was then that she received the MS diagnosis as a 14-year-old.

“It’s hard, especially at that age,” Montgomery said. “It’s not a common thing, obviously, so it’s hard to come to grips with.”

But once Montgomery came to grips, she threw herself into running, setting high school records in North Carolina in both indoor and outdoor track, as well as cross country.

“I didn’t want to let MS define me, or stop me from doing what I wanted to do,” Montgomery said. “When I’m running, everything feels fine in the world. Everything feels normal.” Even when everything doesn’t feel normal, she presses on.  No matter the pain, she moves forward until she finishes.

  • How do you think you would feel if you lost feeling in your legs?
  • What is Kayla’s motivation to keep running?
  • What is your motivation to press on when things are difficult?