The New York Times/Jeremy M. Lange

To compete in running is a difficult prospect for anyone. You are not just competing with those around you but with yourself. To do as good as you know you can and to keep pushing to do better than you have ever done before. The prospect for Kayla Montgomery is even more difficult as she suffers from multiple sclerosis. This has not stopped the young runner from becoming one of the fastest runners at her age, in the US.

Before been diagnosed Montgomery played a number of sports including soccer and track and field. She was the slowest runner on her team with a 5k time of 24 minutes and 29 seconds. She recently ran at 17 minutes and 22 seconds coming 11th in a regional qualified for a national competition. The turnaround, some say, is due to her condition.

Montgomery’s legs will go numb in the second kilometer of every race. She can no longer feel pain and after learning to overcome the feeling is able to finish the race. When she finishes the race her numb legs now have to do something different, they have to stop. She is not able to control them any longer and after every race, she collapses to the floor. Her coach has learned to be there to catch her and the two are making quite a team.

When Montgomery was diagnosed with MS she told her coach she didn’t know how long she would be able to continue running for, that she didn’t have much time and that she wanted to run fast. She told him not to hold back. MS is a disease without a cure that leaves many in a wheelchair. For Montgomery to continue running is amazing and for her to be so fast and getting faster is incredible.

While some say the numbness has provided an advantage to the racer as she feels no pain, many say she is now just so focused and determined that she is running faster because of the adversity she faces not because of any advantage it offers. Either way, we hope she can continue to run for a long time. Whatever happens with an attitude like hers, it appears she will achieve greatness in some discipline in the future.