Running for MS: Kevin Hoegler ’13 Prepares for a New Challenge
February 24, 2022
Kevin Hoegler ’13 has always been an athlete.
From his time at Christian Brothers Academy as a varsity wrestler, he enjoyed the thrill of competition and the quest to better himself mentally and physically.
Things changed during the first month of his freshman year at Providence College in 2013. No, he didn’t lose his passion for athletics, but was given a new obstacle.
Hoegler was running on a treadmill when he began to feel a tingling sensation in his legs. He tried to sleep it off, but woke up the next morning numb from the waist down. After spending multiple days in the hospital, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
“As I sat in the hospital bed, I was extremely nervous because I had never felt this feeling before,” he said. “I was a young individual just starting college and I didn’t know what this meant for my future. I was also a very active person who worked out numerous times a week and had no idea if this was going to be the end of that for me.”
Doctors initially worried that Hoegler would not regain full feeling in his lower body, but after a few weeks, his condition improved to the point where he did indeed have full feeling in his legs and feet.
It wasn’t long before Hoegler embraced this new, daunting challenge, as well as looked for ways he could help those also afflicted with the condition.
“When I was diagnosed with MS, I didn’t know anyone who had the disease and felt alone. I wanted to make sure that anyone else in my position knew that there were other people in a similar situation. As a result, during college, I spoke to over 350 classmates about MS and my experience of being diagnosed.”
He has now raised over $15,000 for MS research in the past few years, with a lifetime goal of $1 million.
Never truly losing his athletic passions, Hoegler got the itch to start running again in 2019 after a few years of worrying that exercise would aggravate his condition.
“I was scared that if I did too much [exercise] the numbness would come back. As a result, I stopped working out for most of my college years. This one run led to running becoming my passion. After I started running, I began to become intrigued with what the human body is capable of accomplishing and decided I wanted to try an ultramarathon.”
Ultramarathons are races that are longer than the traditional 26.2-mile marathons. Since 2019, Hoegler has run an astounding 11 ultramarathons, including four that were 100 miles or more. Those races are broken up into segments over the course of a few days.
This April, Hoegler was selected to be a runner in MS Run the US, which is a 220-mile challenge in eight days from Las Vegas, Nevada to Cedar City, Utah. He will run 27.5 miles per day during the event, something most people would not dare to try for even one day. Ultimately, the event does span 3,260 miles across the country.
“I wanted to take on this challenge because I want to contribute more to the MS community. I hope that, through this running challenge, I can not only raise money, but also a lot of awareness of what people with MS can accomplish.”
As he reflects on his journey to this point, Hoegler looks at his formative time at the Academy, during which he says he grew stronger mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
“The lessons span from discipline, to self-accountability, to the importance of a community, and more. However, I believe the most powerful lesson I learned was to have faith in God and His plan for me. CBA built my foundation of faith, discipline, and so much more. I am grateful for these lessons and carry them with me every day.”