2. Being a Lifelong Athlete with Multiple Sclerosis – Bill Sinak
This week, I had the privilege of talking with Badass Bill Sinak. Bill is a 24-time marathoner and 26-time BikeMSer—and he completed every single one of those endurance events after his multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 1993.
Because Chronically Badass got its start on Instagram, much of our following to this point is people who are comparatively newly-diagnosed, who are in the first decade of figuring out what it means to be active and chronically ill. Bill’s stories of decades of Badassery are inspiring. And, while he admits that it may require flexibility to find activities that work with his body as time goes on, Bill plans to be active decades from now, when he’s in his 70s.
Ironically, Bill points to his MS diagnosis as a factor in his getting so involved in endurance athletics. With the threat of physical disability someday, Bill decided to embrace his health while he has it. Seven years after his diagnosis, he ran the Chicago Marathon, the first of his many marathon races. He’s run Chicago three times and has taken on the Goofy Challenge in Disney. He also ran an ultramarathon: the Tunnel Hill 50.
To fundraise for and bring awareness to multiple sclerosis, Bill participated in the first annual MS Run the US. In the course of nine days, Bill ran 200 miles across Colorado, participating in a giant, cross-country relay race. In this interview, he shares some memories from the adventure, as well as answers to some logistical questions.
Bill serves on the board of his local BikeMS chapter and is dedicated to the mission of the organization. He talks fondly of the experience of riding with other people who understand the experience of living with a chronic illness, and he’s found the events sincerely meaningful.
Links from our discussion:
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Podcast theme music by: Caleb Ritchie