Accomplished Tulsa-area runner now faces life with ALS
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Kelvin Reid has completed five 100-mile races, but now he's had to trade in his tennis shoes for a wheelchair after doctors diagnosed him with ALS.
“I’ve run for years and I run because it is something I’m good at,” he said.
He ran his last 100-mile race in June 2016, completing it with the disease. Even then, he didn't let his illness stop him, continuing 35-mile runs every week for more than a year after his diagnosis.
“Up until last October I was still running,” said Reid. “My neurologist could not believe I was still running.”
But then in December 2017, his health went downhill fast.
“It was my balance that stopped me running,” he said.
Now he uses a machine to help him communicate and is forced to use a wheelchair. His wife, Jess, also a runner, never leaves his side.
“I just try to keep his spirits up,” she said. “Keep him fighting and holding on and encourage him every moment I can.”
His friend, Ken Saveth, founder and manager director of Know No Boundaries, also found a way to help by starting the Ultra Cowboy Ultra Marathon. The race is free, but all donations go toward Reid’s medical expenses. It is 50 kilometers, a little more than 31 miles.
“The fact that I know he struggles, it just really tugs at my heart,” said Saveth. “It’s just one of those brain storm ideas that we came up to try to do something since he’s a part of the running community. I’m a part of the running community.”
“It was an overwhelming event,” said Reid. “I was stuck for words.”
The support from Saveth and his wife keeps a fire burning within him.
“I will not stop fighting,” said Reid. “I won’t let ALS ruin my life.”
This year’s Ultra Cowboy Ultra is in June at the Prairie Song Western Village in Dewey. This is the second year for the event.
You can sign up here.