24-Year-Old Runner With Autism Featured On The Cover Of Women’s Running

Every year Women's Running magazine holds a reader contest to highlight one runner on the cover. Now, in the contest's third year, they're celebrating a major first: Out of more than 4,000 submissions, Kiley Lyall, a 24-year-old runner with autism, was named the winner. For the magazine's annual Cover Runner Contest, candidates had to submit a biography and describe themselves in three words — Lyall's were "sweet, determined, and successful." Then, readers voted on who they wanted to be a finalist, and eventually win the competition. After more than 10,000 votes were tallied, Lyall was named the winner. Lyall, who recently finished her second Chicago Half Marathon, won a photo shoot, an all-new running wardrobe, and entry into three Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series races in 2016. Her cover will be featured on the January/February issue of Women's Running. Like many people with autism, Lyall also has epilepsy. But she says that running has helped ease her seizures: “My autism doesn’t take over my days anymore,” said Lyall in a press release. “Although my lifelong seizures have recently become life-threatening, when I run, it relieves so much stress on my brain, allowing me to function much better through most days!" Last year, BRCA2-positive runner Lindsey Hein won — just a year after undergoing a preventive double mastectomy. And earlier this year, the magazine showcased plus-size runner Erica Schenk, on the cover. It seems thatWomen's Running has no fear of celebrating true diversity among runners — we call that going the extra mile.

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