Running a New Route

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on August 20, 2020 # Team Reeve

By Kelly Lamb, Manager, Team Reeve Endurance

What brought you to Team Reeve?Kelly running during a marathon

I moved to New York City in the summer of 2013 to begin my career. Less than a month later, my boyfriend, Jon David, sustained a spinal cord injury, leaving him a quadriplegic. We were in a long-distance relationship, trying to navigate a future we never envisioned. I was extremely depressed and struggling to cope with his injury and our new reality. On a frigid November morning, I watched thousands of marathon runners pass my apartment. I watched many run and handcycle for various charitable organizations, and at that moment, I decided I was going to run the 2014 New York City Marathon for charity. I learned that the Reeve Foundation had a team, and I was sold! This was my opportunity to 'contribute to Jon David's recovery tangibly. I had never run a 5K before, but I was ready to take on a marathon for the love of my life and to advance spinal cord research.

What should everyone know about the Reeve Run & Roll Virtual 5K?

Like most large events, the New York and Chicago Marathons were canceled this year. This was a massive hit to Team Reeve's morale and fundraising. These two events are the largest fundraising events annually for Team Reeve. We were looking to have another record-setting year and break $600,000. With the cancellation of these events, things started to look bleak. But our team members were still committed, and we knew we had to find another opportunity to engage our community and continue to fund paralysis research. That led us to create the Reeve Run & Roll.

We want to help people connect across the globe in support of our loved ones who are living with paralysis. The Reeve Run & Roll is the perfect opportunity for all individuals, disabled or not, to participate in a Team Reeve event and engage their friends and family to do the same. And we can do some serious fundraising in the process!Team Reeve members

What is the most exciting aspect of the event this year?

I am most excited about this event because it is truly accessible to everyone. Previously, Team Reeve events have been very endurance-focused, which often leaves out the heart of our community. The Reeve Run & Roll virtual 5K can be completed by running, walking, or rolling in any mobility device at any time of the day, and wherever someone lives. Entire families can go out and complete this together. And, there are no fundraising minimums or requirements tied to this event. We genuinely want everyone to be involved and to engage every corner of the world

How many marathons have you competed in, and what did you do to prepare (physically/mentally)?

I have completed six marathons for Team Reeve and raised a little over $100,000 from extremely generous and committed donors. The fundraising process has been humbling, and it means so much to know that the funds are making a major impact on spinal cord research.

In terms of preparing physically and mentally, it was a beast. The first year was the hardest. I truly didn't know if I could finish the race; 26.2 miles is very daunting, and training has serious highs and lows. Some days I would start a run and be exhausted at three miles. This process helped me better understand what my boyfriend was going through daily. Paralysis is also daunting, and there is no finish line in sight. But slowly, each day gets a little better. Your confidence grows, and you can push harder.Kelly with medal after race

I made so many new friends through Team Reeve and other running clubs along the way that help keep me motivated. Team Reeve's Coach Mark was a wealth of advice and held me accountable to my training and fundraising goals (and I'm excited for the special role he'll play in helping all those who participate in the Run & Roll!). I'm a big believer in not beating yourself up for a poor training day or bad race. I really wanted to enjoy the marathon, focus on my gratitude for everyone who had helped us keep going, and so generously donated to the Foundation. If that meant I had to walk, I did! Whatever it took. I just wanted to cross the finish line. My time wasn't fast, but I finished. I think my experience is similar to the journey my boyfriend is going through. It hasn't been fast or even constant, but we keep moving forward.

What are your hopes for next year's marathon season (or 2021 in general)?

I have no doubt that next year will be our most successful year for Team Reeve. Our marathon teams will be the largest they have ever been, and the marathons will be a very emotional experience for everyone involved after such a challenging 2020. I look forward to the packed streets of Chicago and New York and cheering through my megaphone for every person who passes me. Beyond the success of the marathon teams, I want to see the accessibility of our events continue to grow and include all members of the community. I hope this virtual 5K is here to stay, and the community will love the opportunity to come together in such a profound way to prove that paralysis can't stop us and that a cure is on the horizon.

Register for the Reeve Run & Roll!