San Diego

UCSD Staffer With Multiple Sclerosis Aims for 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 12 Months

The San Diego woman isn't letting her disease stop her from what she loves to do: run marathons.

A UC San Diego staff member with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) isn't letting her disease stop her from what she loves to do: run marathons. 

Cheryl Hile, 42, is on her way to becoming the first woman with the disease to run seven marathons on seven continents in a single year.

Hile, a fund manager in the Computer Science and Engineering department, will run the Honolulu Marathon next week - the third marathon in her journey since she started the year of running in September. 

Since September, Cheryl and her husband Brian have run a marathon in Cape Town, South Africa in September and another in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in October. 

Since she was diagnosed in 2006, Cheryl has run more than 30 marathons. 

Completing a marathon is a difficult endeavor for people diagnosed with MS because the condition weakens a runner's ability to pick up his or her foot after each stride, making them more susceptible to falling or stumbling. 

To help offset this, Cheryl partnered with Encinitas-based maker of orthotics, Ara Mirzaian, who fit her with a standard brace and an ankle-foot orthotic made of lightweight carbon graphite. The brace helps her use less energy and complete marathons, Mirzaian said. 

After her race in Honolulu, Cheryl and her husband will be flying down south in January to run in a marathon in Antarctica. The trip will be the most expensive of her year-long adventure, tapping in at $8,950 for race registration alone. However, Mirzaian, and the company he works for, Hanger Inc., is sponsoring the journey to Antarctica. 

Cheryl has raised approximately $44,000 to travel and run in all seven races through the crowdfunding website Crowdrise, a total that is about 80 percent of her goal. 

At this point, Cheryl said, she has raised enough to get through the race in Tokyo, Japan. 

She continues to fundraise for the remainder of the trips: races in Vienna, Austria in April and Christchurch, New Zealand in June. 

At her current pace, Cheryl says, she is set to complete the adventure in just eight months. 

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