This summer, Women’s Running magazine made headlines for their decision to feature plus-sized model Erica Jean Schenk on their August cover. The magazine is once again proving that runners aren’t a one-size-fits-all group by making Kiley Lyall, a 24-year-old runner with autism, their January/February cover star.
As a two-time marathoner who raises money for her local hospital and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Lyall's entry stood out from more than 4,000 submissions in the magazine's annual Cover Runner Contest. She's now the first runner with autism to appear on the cover of a national fitness magazine.
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Lyall's mother Kathleen urged her daughter to enter the contest, telling People that she hoped her daughter's entry would inspire others to take up running. "Kiley's been running for many years now, and people on the outside keep telling her how inspirational she is, and how she motivates them to want to run with all the struggles she goes through," she said. "One of my friends said this would be a really cool thing to enter because Kiley makes them want to run. But we never thought anything would come of it."
In her submission, Lyall, who along with moderate autism lives with epilepsy and cerebral palsy, said that running has made a huge impact on her life. "[It's] literally helped my brain become healthier," she said to Women's Running. "My autism doesn’t take over my days anymore…when I run it relieves so much stress on my brain, allowing me to function much better through most days!”
Along with her cover, Lyall will receive a new running wardrobe and entries to three Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon races in 2016. Congratulations, Lyall, for being an inspiration to runners everywhere!
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