Nevada resident Larry Kelley is part of a winning team. Each of the team’s members is expected to run the equivalent of a marathon six times. But the team isn’t running against another team, or even against each other. The team is running for a cause.
Kelley is a part of the "MS run the US" team. The purpose is to raise money and awareness for multiple sclerosis. The goal is $500,000. The runners split the distance between Los Angeles, Calif., and New York, N.Y. Each member runs one or two segments of the race, which began on April 15 and will conclude Sept. 6.
Kelley ran 310 miles, from Council Bluffs to Davenport. He said he began on Saturday, July 6, touching the Missouri River, and finished on Saturday, July 20, submerging himself in the Mississippi River at Davenport’s Centennial Park.
He ran every day in between his start and finish dates, except for Sunday, July 14. Kelley said he ran one marathon for each of 11 days, and a half-marathon for each of the remaining two days.
He didn’t just do one segment, either. Kelley said he volunteered to do an extra when he found out the runner signed up for the segment before his had dropped out. He also did the last 30 miles of the segment before that one, so that he could have the achievement of running across the entire state of Iowa.
During his childhood, Kelley suffered from rheumatic fever, which affects the joints. The disease has many of the same physical symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease that blocks the brain’s signals to certain muscles. The two diseases are similar in that they both involve inhibited movement. Kelley said as a child he spent three months in a hospital bed unable to move, but he fortunately outgrew the disease. Kelley also had an aunt who suffered from multiple sclerosis.
Kelley became involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society eight years ago by participating in an MS 150, a bike ride which raises funds to end the disease. He chose to participate in the MS run the US to support his aunt, as well as raise money in hopes of seeing a cure during his lifetime.
Out of his personal goal of $10,000, Kelley has so far raised $10,100 in donations, according to his profile at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/msruntheus/larrykelley. Visitors can offer donations on that page, as well as leave him a message to read with the donation amount. Donations will be accepted up until the run concludes on Sept. 6.