Just a week after the LA Marathon, long distance running will return to Santa Monica. This time, however, the running efforts will be solely be for charity. And 26.2 miles in a day? Try 26.2 every day for a week.

MS Run the US, a charity organization that raises funds for multiple sclerosis awareness and research, will begin a 3,260 mile relay run from the Pier to New York to contribute more awareness and money to their cause. Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O’Day will be on hand to help kick off the event. The ultra relay run will begin Saturday, April 6 at 9 a.m.

Runners that participate in the run have to be very committed to the cause— runners must fundraise $10,000 within ten months and then commit to running 160 miles over 6 consecutive days for their assigned relay segment. Divvied up, 160 miles is equivalent to running about a marathon a day.

The first segment of the relay starts at the Pier and will take runners from Santa Monica to Barstow, all on foot. An RV with two crew members travels a bit ahead of the runner, usually stopping the runner every 5 miles for hydration and nutrition.

Laura Allred, a MS Run the US fund raiser and runner, is used to the run that awaits her. The 40-year old project manager and mother will run this year. She became involved with the organization to further raise awareness about MS after the disease hit close to home. 

Allred’s brother was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago, spurring the then-28-year old into action. As she was getting into running around the same time, she came across runs and marathons that she could participate in to help raise money and awareness for MS.

Then, she came across MS on the Run. 

“Years ago came across this and thought, ‘This is the scariest thing I’ve heard of,’” Allred said. “We just get up in the morning, run a marathon, spend the rest of the day recovering, get out and do it the next day. You have to take it one mile at a time.”

Allred, now 40, finds the task commonplace. Whether running along a highway or on a dirt backroad the MS on the Run team mapped out, Allred says the pain is worth it for the cause she supports and the family of supporters she’s met, such as fellow runner Amy Wirtz.

Wirtz, a Community Engagement Manager with MS on the Run, has run with the organization on several different occasions in several different states.

She began with MS on the Run on a recommendation from the owner of a gym she frequented. Wirtz was on a fitness binge and liked the pitch of helping others while running.

The physically gruelling marathan-a-day aspect isn’t much of a threat to Wirtz, who says the charity organization motivates her.

“I would say toughest aspect is mental part of it,” Wirtz said. “Running for five to six hours a day, running by yourself. It’s tiring,  but for all of us involved it’s the idea that were doing it for others that can’t do it, to raise the profile of MS for them. You’re part of this relay that’s running for a cause, and that keeps you mentally motivated to keep going.”

For more information, visit https://www.msruntheus.org/


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