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New Ipswich man runs multiple sclerosis fundraiser marathon

  • Samuel Main of New Ipswich ran a marathon on Mother's Day to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/13/2020 4:11:57 PM

While moms across the world received typical Mother’s Day gifts on Sunday – brunch, flowers, a card – Kate Main of New Ipswich got a present she won’t soon forget. Kate, who is living with multiple sclerosis, watched her son Samuel run his first-ever marathon in her honor, and he raised over $2,000 for MS research in the process.

“It was amazing!” Kate said. “He really humbles me!”

Samuel, home from the University of New Hampshire to finish his senior year remotely, went from a “high-speed” daily routine with a big senior courseload and Air Force ROTC training to a low-key home life.

“Suddenly being immersed in a quarantine led me to feeling unaccomplished,” Samuel said, “especially with physical fitness.”

So, the former Mascenic cross-country and track runner fell back on what he knew – distance running. He went out longer and longer until he was topping ten miles at a time; then, it was time for a self-imposed challenge. With Mother’s Day on the horizon, it came to him: he’d run a marathon in his mother’s honor.

“My mother is incredibly strong, and she is handling her MS as best as she can,” Samuel said. “Seeing loved ones deal with illness can often leave you feeling helpless. She never looks for sympathy, but it is innate to want to help somehow.”

Kate has been living with MS for about ten years now, but rarely talks about it. It can be a hard disease to explain, she said, as one day she might be up to exercising or going for a run, and another might find her unable to get out of bed.

“MS is random,” she said, “which is why people are often misunderstood…I get through each day because of positivity, trying to never focus on symptoms. Each day is a gift, and though it is true MS has taken parts of me, I am living a beautiful life.”

Samuel created a fundraiser page to solicit donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and announced his intentions; in eight hours, he’d already reached his $750 goal, and by the time he hit the road on Sunday, he’d doubled it. As of press time, donations were up to nearly $2,500 (to donate, visit

Despite his running experience, Samuel had never run a full marathon; generally, marathon runners have planned and completed a lengthy training and tapering period before running 26.2 miles.

“I certainly wasn’t in ‘peak condition’ to run a full marathon,” Samuel said, “but I didn’t have a reason when I asked myself ‘why not?’”

Samuel ran five legs, checking back in at the house after each, and finished the marathon in four hours, 11 minutes. It was a challenging, painful run, but as he pushed through those final miles, he knew it was nothing compared to what his mother faced every day.

“I viewed the physically challenging aspects of the race as something to directly correlate with the pain MS complications can cause,” Samuel said. “More often than not, I was thinking of exactly that during the run – particularly about my mother. Especially with the last loop I did, emotions were running high from those thoughts. At the end of the day, nothing I endured during that run compares, however. I was pushing myself for four hours, whereas people with MS have to endure their complications indefinitely.”

After the run, Samuel and his siblings gave their mother a painting on a homemade canvas and set up a fine celebratory dinner. On Monday, Kate was still beaming with pride in her son.

“He has worked so hard and all the while been a huge support to me and role model for his five siblings,” she said.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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