WORCESTER - Kim Winiker is training for the 2020 Boston Marathon. He decided to run after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis [MS], a disease of the nervous system.
Winiker, a third-year student at UMass Medical School from Brookline, said, "There's a National MS Society team for the Marathon. That was the main motivation. Part is the challenge for myself to see if my body can still do physical feats which I hope it can and other big part is to be a fundraising tool for a wonderful organization that I strongly support."
Winiker he was diagnosed with MS two years ago. He's had to overcome may obstacles since, including during his Marathon training.
"When I run, it's inevitable that sometime around mile four my feet go numb, which is very disconcerting because I can't feel the hit of the ground, so it makes me nervous I'm going to trip and then it goes away in two miles. Like if I run through it, it's fine. And then the mental barrier is just again me against disease. I want to push myself hard so I can prove to myself I can do these things," Winiker said.
There is no cure for MS. But the 27-year-old is optimistic there will be one in the future.
Winiker said, "There's already been tremendous research in the MS fields. There are 15 different drugs available to treat MS and some of them are disease modifying drugs which means they alter the course of the disease. So, there's already been a lot of work and I'd love to see it cured in my lifetime.
Coronavirus concerns have caused some road races across Massachusetts to be canceled or postponed. Winiker says whether there is a Boston Marathon or not, he'll be running the 26.2 miles on race day.
"I honestly think my plan is just to go there on the day of, start at the starting line, run my own race and finish at the finish line," Winiker said. "I think for me, this is more about me against my disease than it is about going through the Boston Marathon and trying to get the best time. So even if it's just me out there by myself, with no one to cheer me on, I'm going to run that race and hope I can do it."
Last weekend, Winiker ran 20.6 miles and next weekend he will be running either 21 or 22 miles. Through fundraising he's raising $20,000 to support the National MS Society.
If you would like to donate to Winiker's fundraiser, please click here.
The Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, April 20.