Share This Page

Ohio Township woman completes 5 marathons in 5 days

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Submitted
Dawn Kumlien, pictured with her mother, Jill, will run five marathons in five days to benefit multiple sclerosis research.

Elite runners spend an entire year training for a marathon, but Dawn Kumlien didn't have the benefit of five years to train for five marathons.

“I've been training since November. I had a training program I followed,” said Kumlien, 25, of Ohio Township. “Mentally before, I felt like I was prepared. Running is 90 percent mental, 10 percent physical, but no matter how much running I did, nothing prepared me physically or mentally for the hills in Pennsylvania.”

Kumlien ran five marathons in five days as part of the “MS Run the U.S.” relay to benefit MS research. Dawn's mother, Jill, has been living with MS for 35 years, and the relay was organized to raise awareness and funds.

From Aug. 18-22, Kumlien ran 131 miles from Youngstown, Ohio, to Pittsburgh. Admitting she isn't a top-flight runner, and only ran competitively in high school, Kumlien had to battle through soreness and exhaustion, especially on Day 5 to finish her leg.

“It was very difficult. I slowed down a lot. My knee was hurting me. I was having a lot of issues, and my miles were slower,” Kumlien said of Day 5. “I was walking some of it. I wanted to quit, and I didn't want to do it anymore.”

Kumlien didn't have to look far for inspiration, as her mother was there for every step.

“Knowing that I was able to do that for my mom, and (my parents) told me they were proud of me. It was nice to have them there with me,” Kumlien said.

Before completing her five marathons, Kumlien never ran more than 22 miles in training or studied her elevation chart thoroughly.

“I think it helped me and also hurt me because I didn't know what to expect,” Kumlien said. “My first marathon felt great.”

It was the rolling landscape of Pennsylvania that surprised.

“The hills were brutal,” Kumlien said. “It didn't matter if you were prepared for them. It was hill after hill after hill after hill. I never had a break on the hills.”

Kumlien completed the 19th segment of the nationwide relay, and described her week full of running as surreal.

“This past week was like an out-of-body experience,” Kumlien said. “Yes, I was there, but looking back on it now I can't believe that just happened.”

There are still more miles to be run, though. Jill Kumlien will finish the relay in an adult stroller pushed by other really members of “Team Jill,” Sept. 6 in New York City. As much of an emotional roller coaster last week was for Dawn, she can't wait to get to New York.

“I can't imagine what NYC will be like,” Kumlien said. “It'll be a completely different experience.”

It's the first year of the relay, and after overcoming some struggles to finish her leg, Dawn didn't hesitate about doing it again.

“I already signed up for my leg next year.”

Justin Criado is a freelance writer.

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.