The January/February 2016 issue of Women's Running will feature Kiley Lyall — a 24-year-old half-marathon runner with autism, the first autistic runner to be featured on the cover of a major fitness magazine. In an inspiring interview with the magazine, Kiley explained how she took up running after being diagnosed with autism and severe epilepsy at a young age. Even now, running doesn't come without its risks for Kiley, who says she had two seizures last year during her first half-marathon. Though the on-site paramedics suggested she stop the race, Kiley ended up finishing without any additional complications. Her brave stance: "My autism doesn't take over my days anymore. 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!"
Kiley beat out 4,000 other applicants for the magazine's Cover Runner Contest, and she's not the only cover model they've chosen to represent runners of all ages, sizes, and ability — the recent cover with plus-size model Erica Schenk is another example of how the magazine is putting diversity center stage.
While we'll have to wait a few more months until the official cover reveal, keep reading to learn more about Kiley.