Hope team participating in Muck MS

Elaine Lawton will lead a team through a five-kilometre mud run in Chilliwack this Saturday

Elaine Lawton is training with nine other Hope residents for this Saturday’s Muck MS in Chilliwack

Elaine Lawton is training with nine other Hope residents for this Saturday’s Muck MS in Chilliwack

Elaine Lawton is celebrating her 50th birthday with a five-kilometre run through mud and obstacles this Saturday.

The Hope resident is participating in the first-ever Muck MS, in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, BC & Yukon Division, at Dicklands Farm in Chilliwack.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a personal challenge and I hope it’s a fun event,” said Lawton.

Beginner and experienced mud runners from across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley will slog through five kilometres of road, hill, and forest trail made more challenging by a dozen man-made obstacles. The majority of Muck MS participants will take part in teams to complete the course in an average time of two hours. Joining Lawton’s team this weekend will be nine members of Hope’s Team FIT, who encouraged her to sign up for the event.

Lawton started training for Muck MS in June, running three times a week as part of Team FIT’s learn to run program. Training was sidetracked by a stress fracture in August, but her ankle has since healed.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for the support of the team,” she said, adding that Miranda Cowan and Brenda Deschenes have been instrumental in her training.

Supporting the MS Society is a cause that hits home for Lawton, who participates in the annual MS Walk in Hope and other fundraising events. Lawton was also diagnosed with the disease in June 2013.

“It’s in the early/mild stages and I’m not on any medication,” she said. “Sometimes my balance is affected, there’s tingling in my hands and feet, and fatigue. It’s not really changed my life, but you never know what the future holds. Being physically active is important to living with MS.”

According to the MS Society of Canada, this country has the highest rate of MS in the world. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. It is the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. It is estimated that 100,000 people in Canada have MS with three new people diagnosed every day.

The MS Society provides services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. In B.C., programs include legal assistance, equipment provision, newly diagnosed presentations and information sessions.

The upcoming mud run website can be found at www.muckms.ca. For more information about MS or to make a donation, visit mssociety.ca/bc or call 1-800-268-7582.