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Former Ronan athlete runs for suicide prevention, qualifies for Boston Marathon

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RONAN— Kira Crenshaw Niedens, a 2005 Ronan High School graduate, has been on the run for some time now. Running, that is, for suicide prevention with hopes of qualifying for one of the bigger races such as Chicago, New York, and Boston.

Thus far she has run in Missoula, in marathons in Oregon where she currently resides, and most recently has run in the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon in Utah. With his race she qualified to run in the Boston Marathon by finishing in 3 hours, 31 minutes and 40 seconds.

“I’ve never been so happy to be 35 as the requirement for those who are 18-34 was 3 hours 30 minutes and I had an extra 5 minutes as a 35-year-old to qualify,” Niedens said. 

Niedens was a Ronan athlete, breaking a 20-year standing record which was subsequently broken again the following year by yet another Ronan athlete. She ran both cross country and track, and played volleyball and basketball as well.

Athletes all have various reasons to run, and Niedens has a special reason to hit the road and earn money for suicide prevention. 

Suicide affects thousands of families each year and is most prominent in the western states and Alaska, but suicide is no respecter of persons and does not discriminate. Her drive and motivation to run has earned approximately $4,000 for charity and has led her to continue to run, taking family and friends along for the ride who cheer her on.  

She is currently scheduled to run Chicago in October, New York City in November, and is planning on applying to run in the Boston Marathon in April of 2023. Whether she is accepted or not depends upon how many other athletes are applying to run, as the cap for runners is no more than 30,000 and to earn a spot largely depends upon being chosen as a top tier runner among all those who apply. Runners are currently in the application process and should know by end October whether they have a place in this event. 

What keeps her motivated to dig deep enough to keep going? Niedens said support from family, but also the idea that she is running for a purpose. It is a common practice to see names written on her shirt or on her arm of those who she will be running for in each race. Not all names she uses are those who have committed suicide, but some may be family members loved and lost that motivate her to push on.

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