How Far Can Passion Take You?

By CASSANDRA REYES

“‘Coach, I don’t know how much time I have left, so I want to run fast.’” While speaking to the New York Times, Coach Patrick Cromwell recalls this remarkable comment made by one of his star runners: Kayla Montgomery. At 15 years old, the student athlete was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Now, 18, Montgomery displays a confidence and dedication that all athletes, and more specifically runners, should admire.

Endurance, speed, passion, ambition, are all qualities that a runner must possess. Despite dealing with a condition that causes the runner to collapse after every single race, Montgomery has somehow allowed her love for the sport to overcome all of the downfalls multiple sclerosis brings. What many view as an unexpected turnout, Montgomery has gone on to break personal records, compete in national cross-country championships, and have successful performances in many other high level races. Montgomery has refused to let this incurable disease stop her; it’s fascinating. And all the while, she remains humble. If you know about Montgomery’s diagnosis, you know. She doesn’t go around telling her competitors or the officials at a race about what she is about to endure while she runs. Multiple sclerosis causes the talented runner’s legs to go completely numb soon after she departs from the finish line. Montgomery is not looking for sympathy, she’s simply looking for a chance to run for as long as she can, and that’s amazing. As one of the fastest distance runners in the country, Montgomery is a prime example of how far passion can take you. The numbness, the unwanted attention of both those who know about her diagnosis and those who don’t, the fear of when her body can no longer be pushed to it’s limit, has not stopped the runner. A role model, nonetheless, is surely an accurate depiction of the type of person Montgomery has grown to be over the past three years. Her success as a runner emphasizes why no person should ever allow an obstacle to discourage them from doing what they love. While some fear chasing their dreams, Montgomery fears the day she will no longer be chasing hers.

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