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Meet Ashley Schneider of MS Run the US in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Schneider.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1980 before I was born. I grew up watching her live graciously with the disease while battling severe pain, muscle spasticity, and cognitive dysfunction. I also grew up a runner. These two areas of my life collided when I was 25 years old and got the idea to run 3,288 miles across America from California to New York to raise money and awareness for multiple sclerosis. Excited about the idea of doing something big for others, I quit my job traveling abroad in Europe, I moved home to Wisconsin, and I started building the organization. I began my solo run across America on March 22nd, 2010 in California and finished in New York on September 28th, 2010 becoming the 16th female to ever run across America.

Along the way I met many runners that said they would love to do something like run across America, which gave me an idea to offer a run similar to mine as a fundraising opportunity for the cause. I created America’s first and only 3,100 mile ultra-relay run and recruited runners to join the 18-person team. Our 2018 relay marks our 6th relay run across the country. We have raised over 1.2 million dollars for the cause and don’t plan on stopping until we find a cure!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There are always struggles in building a business no matter who you are! I founded the organization at such a young age that many of my early struggles were that of someone with little business experience. In our first year we had many people step forward to help the cause in big ways, but we also experienced individuals that took advantage of my trusting nature. Just two months into my run across America over $6,000 was stolen from our fundraising. Luckily the funds were returned, and ultimately I learned a big lesson in trust.

As the organization has developed we experience new and different struggles that require us to grow and change. New this year we’ve seen a huge uphill battle with hiring out for one of our contracted positions. Though these growing pains can be frustrating, it’s also a blessing to experience new obstacles of operating a business and working with others to solve the problem.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the MS Run the US story. Tell us more about the business.
MS Run the US is comprised of a group of individuals who are ready to take on an epic challenge to do something about multiple sclerosis (MS)! Whether you’re a relay runner committed to running 160 miles in 6 days, or an Ambassador running your first 5K, our organization thinks BOLDLY about testing our limits and raising funds along the way.

As an organization, MS Run the US is known as America’s first and only 3,100 mile relay run. Every year starting in mid-April we run from Santa Monica, CA to New York.

Personally, I am most proud of our relay runners. We’re not elite athletes. We’re everyday people who see the potential in ourselves and those around us to push the limits of the status quo and make a change. We believe there is a cure to MS and we plan on being a part of the solution.

We set ourselves apart in our mindset. We understand that as humans we are far more capable than we know and we as an organization aren’t afraid to test the boundaries of what is possible in order to make a difference.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is life – good luck or bad, it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how you react to it. I have always been a positive person and I enjoy being challenged. There have been many times I have been frustrated by circumstances, but I never allow circumstances to be the deciding factor in moving forward. There’s a saying that many runners live by, it says “Never quit while you’re running up hill.” In essence it means that if what you’re experiencing is hard, that’s not the time to quit. I always remember this when I’m being challenged. Even if I feel like giving up, I push through until we experience good times again as an organization. And when the good times come, as they always do, I completely love what I’m doing and it makes all the hard stuff worthwhile!

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