North Hills runner to complete 5 marathons in 5 days to benefit MS research
TribLIVE Sports Videos
On Christmas two years ago, the Kumlien family decided to take their mother, Jill Kumlien, for a horseback ride.
“It was really nice seeing her be able to get on a horse again, to see her do something she has not been able to do,” said Dawn Kumlien of Ohio Township, Jill's daughter. “Something she thought was a chapter in her life that was forever going to be closed.”
Doctors diagnosed Jill Kumlien, 59, with multiple sclerosis 35 years ago, before Dawn Kumlien was born.
In recent years, Dawn Kumlien, 25, has dedicated many hours raising awareness and money for MS, in honor of her mother. In August, she will participate in the 19th segment of the “MS Run the U.S.,” running 131 miles over five days in parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The “MS Run the U.S.” relay effort is a Kumlien family pursuit. Ashley Kumlien, 27, Dawn's sister, founded the nonprofit behind the race when she became in 2010 the 16th female runner to run across the country. Her run sparked the idea for the relay.
With 21 other runners taking part in the relay, Dawn Kumlien hopes to raise $10,000 for multiple sclerosis research.
“I know I can do this,” Kumlien said, saying mental preparation is her biggest challenge.
“I know that God is going to provide me with the tools and support. Two weeks ago, I was running in hail and rain and snow at the same time; that's difficult. But people with MS, they have bad days, but they don't get to quit so I'm not going to quit.”
To be selected to run one of the five- or six-day segments, runners must submit an application to “MS Run the U.S.” relay. Participants are selected based on their running abilities, community involvement and willingness to promote and fundraise for MS. Dawn Kumlien's application received no special treatment, despite the family ties, Ashley Kumlein said.
“(Dawn) knew that she was going to be held to the same standards as everybody else,” her sister said. “I am extremely proud of her. She does not have a lot of experience in fundraising, and she has done awesome. Her training is taking off, too. I always knew that she was a really skilled runner.”
The first runner will depart from Barstow, Calif. on April 15. Dawn Kumlien will begin her segment on Aug. 18, in Pittsburgh, and will end in Youngstown, Ohio.
Watching her mother's struggles to complete daily tasks and losing her ability to do activities she loves, such as singing and playing guitar, inspires her, she said.
“When you have somebody in your life that you have to watch go through this disease, you want to do everything possible to help them.”
Jill Kumlien will be the final participant in the relay leg, covering 10 miles in New York City on Sept. 6 in an adult stroller pushed by relay runners and anyone else who wants to run with what is being called “Team Jill.”
“She deserves to finish,” Ashley Kumlien said.
Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates grind out extra-inning win against testy Tigers
- Shopping season starts up for Penguins amid onset of free agency
- Police identify Harmar man as victim in Washington Township crash
- Penguins notebook: Sheary hoping to return to organization
- 1 killed, several hurt as police chase ends in Oakland crash
- In historic vote, Legislature approves bill selling state liquor stores
- Pittsburgh police solve fewer homicides
- Pennsylvania Senate passes $30.1B GOP budget; Gov. Wolf veto likely
- Union to work while ATI talks continue
- Source: Fire at black church in South Carolina wasn’t arson
- 10 escape Greensburg house fire