Nebraska women run through state to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis
Only a few raindrops fell as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” reverberated across the street where Tammie Kruszczak was coming up on the finish line.
Kruszczak had been running for six days for the cross-country relay MS Run the U.S., a 3,100 mile marathon dedicated to raising awareness of multiple sclerosis. The relay involves 18 runners and begins in Los Angeles and ends in New York City.
“(I run because) I have a dear friend who was diagnosed with M.S. in 1997 and we had been friends since 1995,” Kruszczak said. “... now she is in a wheelchair.”
The Omaha native also participated in the relay in 2016, and this year she completed 157.6 miles during her segment from Holdrege to Lincoln. She started on June 12 and crossed her finish line at Bryan West Campus on Sunday afternoon.
Each runner has to commit to raising $10,000 for the relay organization, which conducts multiple sclerosis research, helps victims and spreads awareness, according to the organization’s website. Donations are made before the race and along the way.
Lincoln native Kristina Myint was waiting for Kruszczak to hand off the bright orange relay baton to carry it another 195 miles to Des Moines, Iowa. She will leave Monday and plans to complete her run in seven days, she said.
“Every runner is a little different running the race,” Myint said. “I am going to break up my segment into 10 miles (at a time). But I might have to split it up differently depending on when I need nutrition or the weather.”
Myint started fundraising for multiple sclerosis five years ago. She has always been an endurance athlete and wanted to do more for those she knew with the disease. To complete her required $10,000 fundraiser, Myint is offering a raffle throughout her run. People can buy tickets for $10 for smaller prize drawings, and if they donate $100, all of their tickets will be put in for the drawing of a football signed by Nebraska football coach Scott Frost and Larry the Cable Guy.
Myint expects the temperature to waver between 90 and 100 degrees during her run, but she is hoping to have higher temperatures rather than higher humidity. Both Kruszczak and Myint agreed that Day 3 is usually the hardest, mentally and physically.
The relay started in April and will continue until August.
“People think ‘gosh, you’re going to run 195 miles!’” Myint said. “But there will be pain, blisters, soreness those days, but it will eventually go away. It pales in comparison to what people (with M.S.) go through, who suffer their whole life.”