For Kayla, running is anything but a chore. This longtime runner first got her start in high school, but after a horrific car accident at the end of her senior year left her running future in question, she wasn’t sure she would ever race again. Her motivation through it all? It’s simple: love of the sport.
In 2006, at a time when most high school seniors are busy preparing for prom and graduation, Kayla spent four weeks in the hospital, and then several more months in rehabilitation programs after the car she was riding in with a friend was hit. For the next five years, her injuries lingered preventing her from doing much physical activity at all – especially running. In 2011, she underwent surgery on her back and again had to recover physically. Although she was essentially starting over in terms of technique and stamina, Kayla knew that she wanted to lace her sneakers up and run again. Overcoming all obstacles, she has since run three marathons and countless half marathons.
While running has been Stanton’s first love, it certainly isn’t her only. Stanton’s husband, Ryan, will be joining her on Team Mission United to take on the five boroughs come November. Running stands as a staple of their relationship – a constant presence since their early days together. It’s no surprise, then, that Stanton and her husband serve as each other’s biggest cheerleaders. “I love his passion and enthusiasm, even when he’s just watching me run. And now that he’s into triathlons, I get so excited for him. We keep each other’s passions going,” she said.
Stanton was immediately drawn to the idea of running for an important cause. As a nurse, she feels that she empathizes with veterans returning home. “Many of my patients are veterans and experience chronic pain stemming from injuries sustained when they were serving our country. I know how important it is to have love around you when you are going through a difficult time. We need to be there for our veterans in their time of need the same way that my loved ones were there for me after my accident. I look forward to being on Team Mission United, and running for an organization that provides programs and resources to our veterans. Running 26 miles in support of those that have dedicated their lives to our country is the least I can do”.
“Kayla and Ryan are the perfect addition for Team Mission United,” added John Durso, President of Local 338 UWDSU/UFCW & Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and United Way of Long Island Board Member. “Sponsoring this power couple as they take on this challenge is a thrill, especially since their efforts benefit the veteran population that so rightfully deserves our full support.”
As November nears, Stanton can count on Team Mission United and her personal partner-in-competition to keep her motivated. With a passion for running like Stanton’s, there’s no need to worry about whatever may be waiting along the road to racing success.