Most of us shudder at the thought of an hour-long run, let alone a marathon.
But seven marathons? Not a chance.
Tell that to Cheryl Hile, though, who’s here to put us all to shame. She plans to run seven marathons on seven continents within the next year – despite having multiple sclerosis.
When Hile was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2006, she thought her running career was over. She continued hitting the streets for daily miles and races, but a year later, Hile found her right foot would flop as she ran, causing her to trip.
Hile told PEOPLE that, after seeing her doctor, she was diagnosed with a condition called foot drop, a condition common with MS. She said her doctor told her to ‘lower my expectations for running,’ adding: “That really pissed me off.”
Instead, she got an orthotic brace, ramped up her training, and has run 36 marathons since. Next up: seven marathons on all seven continents — all of which she’s set to complete in the next year.
But as her MS progresses, she is also becoming slower.
Hile, who was inspired by her husband to begin running, says on her Facebook page:
I know I am luckier than many MS patients. I have maintained relatively good health and am able to keep doing my sport. It is, however, significantly more difficult now. I am slower than before and sometimes it is hard to get moving as fluently.
My ability is compromised not only by dropfoot but also by other exacerbations that have affected my right thigh. Due to these newer lesions I am now unable to lift my right foot more than a few inches off the ground and my leg feels heavier. On bad days it feels like I am pulling my leg through mud.
Despite this, Hile is determined to never give up, saying her goal is to be the first person living with MS to run seven marathons on seven continents in 12 months.
She said: “I am definitely not lowering my expectations! By doing this, I hope to inspire people never to lower theirs. I want to encourage others, with or without MS, they should do what they can and never give up!”
What an amazing goal – you’re an inspiration to us all, Cheryl!