7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 12 Months
All About Cheryl Hile
Running with Multiple Sclerosis
Team Bic Chick
Loves to Run: Marathons, Half-Marathons, 5k's
What is your inspiration, to become the first person with Multiple Sclerosis to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 12 months?
My dream is to be the first person living with MS to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 12 months. I want to give-back to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. When I was first diagnosed, the MS Society gave me hope to continue living my life with high expectations. During this journey, I am running for everyone living with Multiple Sclerosis. My fundraiser, will help the National Multiple Sclerosis Society support exciting research projects, as well as provide support programs for people living with MS.
I hope to raise $50,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
My husband needs to be my running partner throughout this journey, I could not run marathons without him. Travelling for two people is very expensive, and I am having a second fundraiser to help with travel-expenses such as flights, hotels, and race-registrations.
I feel confident that I will cross the finish-lines strong!
How did this goal come to you?
I wanted to do something big and giveback to the MS Society. I thought about riding my bike across America.
The idea never really hit me until my 5k, on the fourth of July. Standing in a beer-garden, after my race, the idea came over me! Suddenly I thought to myself, I can be the first person with Multiple Sclerosis to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 12 months!
What marathons are you running?!
- September, 2016. Cape Town
- October, 2016. Buenos Aries Marathon
- December, 2016. Honolulu Marathon
- March, 2016. Antarctica Marathon
- February, 2017. Tokyo Marathon
- April 2017. London Marathon
- June 2017. ChristchurchNew Zealand
I am very much looking forward to experiencing and learning more about different cultures around the world. Hopefully, I will make life-long friends and meet some readers from the blog!
Which marathon, are you most excited to run?
Antarctica! Even though it is going to be so cold, and I am a Californian runner... everyone says it is so spectacular! There is a ten hour time-limit, hopefully I finish in time.
How were you diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?
During a half-marathon, I tripped and fell twice. Thinking the tripping feeling and falling were due to overtraining, I cut back on mileage. However, even after cutting back on running, I still felt the tripping feeling. After seeing a doctor in 2006, I was officially diagnosed with MS.
My tripping feeling is a symptom of MS, called drop-foot. The signal from my shin to brain is not strong enough, therefore causing my foot to fall and drag.
I was depressed after being diagnosed, especially when my neurologist said to lower my expectations. The suggestion to lower my expectations, seriously made me livid. I will never lower my expectations.
How can you manage your drop-foot symptoms?
My orthopedist, made a custom carbon-fiber ankle-brace. Straps go around my legs and angle my foot a little upward. The brace supports my foot from tripping, dragging, and falling. There are still times during a marathon my leg feels heavy.
My brace leg, does not activate while running, so my left-calf is more developed than my right. Though I have lost some speed, I am extremely happy being able to run!
Do you always wear your ankle brace, while running?
I have been running with a carbon fiber ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) since 2008. I have run 30 marathons and 30 half marathons wearing an AFO. You can see why I have had so many! AFO's are not really made for running, so they wear out after about a year.
How did you start running?
My husband (boyfriend at the time) was competing in races and coming home very sore. Out of twisted curiosity, I wanted to know exactly how he felt after running. That, was my motivation to sign up for my first marathon.
Yes, my first race was a full marathon!
Training hard for my marathon was very gratifying. During the race, I felt like I could make it to the finish-line after reaching mile 20. I finished my first marathon in 5:01!
How did you feel crossing your first marathon finish-line?
Did I really do that!?! I felt so much joy, truly my proudest moment. Afterwards, I could not wait to run another marathon!
Do you have a running buddy?
Yes! My husband runs with me, every marathon. During races he helps open my energy-gels, when my hands become numb, and makes sure I do not fall. We run our half-marathons and 5k’s separately, because of our different race paces!
How many marathons and half-marathons have you ran?
48 Marathons! My husband and I love to travel and run marathons everywhere we go. I just ran my 50th half-marathon, in Palm Desert a couple weeks ago!
Where do you keep all of your medals?!
My husband, put a bar across a beam in our tall cathedral-style ceiling! We have all our marathon medals hanging on display.
The picture of the medals are all marathons. The long row to the right are my husbands. He has completed 80 marathons. The row to the left are mine. I think I have about 35 of my 48 metals hanging. We are in the middle of moving, so it will come down soon.
How do you balance work and running?
When I first started working for the University of California in San Diego, everyday I went to the gym during my lunch break. Recently, I have began exercising before work. Every morning, I roll out of bed at 5:30am, have my coffee and hit the treadmill. Working out in the morning, there are no excuses to skip! Plus, I ride my bicycle to work, everyday.
How do you marathon train?
I really enjoy running a few half-marathons to prepare for a full-marathon. I put the same effort into a 13.1 race, as I would in an 18 mile long-run. Running in races is just more fun than doing long runs, alone. Love the medals!
How many miles do you run weekly?
Atleast 20-25 miles every week. I love cross-training!
How do you cross-train?
My road-bike! On weekends, I cycle thirty-miles up and down the cost with my husband. Love the coast, it is calm, I enjoy the ocean waves and relax.
How does running make you feel?
Running makes me feel like I am beating MS, and it is not taking my legs. I went out and ran through the tiredness, and made sacrifices. It helps me feel strong and confident!
How do you fuel on the run?
The night before a marathon, I do not carb-load, but instead eat several small meals throughout the day. Every race morning, I have a bagel with almond butter. I love cliff bars!
What is your typical diet?
Growing up in a Phillipino home, seeing fish with the head still attached and pigs roasting on a fire, turned me off to meat. For twelve years, I have been a vegetarian. I still eat eggs and cheese!
We make everything at home, and pack lunches for work every day. Mainly because some foods make, MS, symptoms worse. White-flour and white-sugar make my entire right arm feel numb and twitchy. I love cookies, but need to limit myself. Healthfully, I eat lots of vegetables.
How do you style your hair, on the run?
I throw my hair back, with a Bic Band! These headbands, stay in place and makes the fly-aways vanish.
Why did you become a Bic-Chick?
I started buying Bic Bands at a marathon expo, after talking to a representative. Sandy started Bic Bands before her first marathon, to raise money for leukemia. Every month, she donates a percentage of each Bic Band sold to a different charity. I loves the product and the company very much!
What is your favorite running apparel?
My ankle brace, without it I cannot run! I have had 5-6 over the years and all of them have names. Currently, my brace’s name is Jackson. My first marathon, we ran together was the Jacksonville Marathon. Another, was named Franky. We ran the Frankfurt Marathon, together.
Running technical shirts, are fabulous because they are so soft. I wear form fitting shorts. My favorite colors are pink and purple!
New Balance sneakers are the best, because the ankle-foot-orthotic fits nicely inside. They have the lightest toe-box on the market.
Do you have a funny race memory?
In the Madrid Marathon, there were not very many women, only 200. At one point I had to pee, but there were not any porta-potties! I ran into the bushes, peed in the woods, looked to the left and there were 5 or 6 men peeing in the bushes, too. They were giving me looks!
Do you have advice for other runners?
New runners should start off slow. I want people to make this a lifelong commitment. Do not increase your mileage, too quickly, prevent injuries. Embrace it. Find joy in running, so it will become a part of you!
Please learn more about Cheryl's journey to 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 12 months!
Please support Cheryl's fundraisers for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and her journey to 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 12 Months.
Photography, courtesy of Cheryl Hile.
That Pretty Runner