Running for Taylor in 50 States: Colorado

By Laura King Edwards

Colorado snuck up on me.

My house sold the weekend I ran the Auburn Running Festival Half Marathon in late March, and I spent most of April packing, moving to a temporary apartment and working with a builder to finalize plans for our new home. I spent most of May catching up on all of the life stuff I’d let slide in the midst of the sale and move, like writing and supporting Taylor’s Tale.

Needless to say, I didn’t spend much time training for state number 13 or pitching my story to local media. And when I boarded a plane for Colorado, I thought I’d be happy just to finish the race. continue reading →

Running for Taylor: 2015 in Pictures

By Laura King Edwards

When I set out to run a race in all 50 states to honor my sister and support one in 10 Americans suffering from a rare disease, I only wanted to build on the momentum of running 13.1 miles blindfolded, which I did at Charlotte’s Thunder Road Half Marathon in late 2013. Taylor’s story was too good, her courage too inspiring, and the success of the blind run too complete to call it quits.

I never imagined the ride would be quite like this.

As the year comes to a close, I’m taking a look back at an incredible 2015: nine races, seven states and enough memories to last a lifetime. continue reading →

Thunder Road: The Skinny

By Laura Edwards

Taylor with medalThe 2014 edition of Charlotte’s biggest race is less than 48 hours away. I think I’m ready for my second half marathon of the fall season (if not the bitter cold – the temperature for the starting gun is expected to be 27 degrees).

You can’t bottle the kind of magic that happened on the course at Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon in 2013. Every moment, from the magazine cover two weeks before race day to the heart-racing start to the storybook finish and the Runner’s World column the following spring, exceeded my expectations. The moment I put my medal around my laughing sister’s neck hours later – in the quiet and privacy of my own home – may have been the best moment of all.

But the 2014 race will have its own brand of magic. Our friends at Playing for Others bring a passionate, loving, infectious energy to the fight against rare disease, and you can’t bottle that either. I know they’ll write an unforgettable chapter when they step onto the Thunder Road 5K course with blindfolds and tethers and walk 3.1 miles in the darkness in honor of millions like Taylor.

Thunder Road finishMy mom, too, will be an angel for Taylor this Saturday when she runs her second 5k. She’ll be joined by others running in purple for the girl who refused to let Batten disease get in her way – until it did.

As for me? I’m running 13.1 miles at Thunder Road, but I’m saving my best for the final stretch.

That’s when I’ll trade light for darkness one more time and follow my sister’s footsteps home.

Want to support Taylor’s Tale and Playing for Others at Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon race events this Saturday? Here’s the skinny:

  • The half marathon starts at 7:45; I expect to finish between 9:30 and 9:40.
  • The 5K starts at 8:15; the Playing for Others crew could finish as early as 8:45.
  • Playing for Others is hosting an official cheer station at the corner of Graham and Stonewall (mile 13 of the full marathon course). If you want to find a pro-Taylor’s Tale crowd during the race, this is your spot!
  • All races finish on S. Mint Street behind BB&T Ballpark.
  • Find course maps here.
  • Find other race information here.
  • p.s. if you live in the Charlotte metro area, watch a feature story about our 2014 effort on WSOC Ch. 9 at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Help Us Get on the Cover of Runner’s World!

By Laura Edwards

I need your help!

As you likely know, I ran Charlotte’s Thunder Road Half Marathon blindfolded to honor my little sister, Taylor; my next challenge is to compete for her in all 50 states, beginning with an epic race later this summer.

Our story has a chance to be on the cover of Runner’s World magazine. This kind of exposure would be amazing for our fight to save millions suffering from rare diseases. That’s where you come in.

Click here to vote for our story. It takes five seconds, and no app download is required. Vote EVERY DAY between now and Aug. 15. We’re in the top 10 right now, but we won’t win without your support. So, share this with everyone you know, and vote often. Thanks so much!

Here is a copy of my entry:


I’ve been running for most of my life and played competitive soccer through college, but I didn’t start entering races regularly until watching my little sister, Taylor, battling a fatal brain disease that causes blindness, run her first 5K at age 10 in 2008. Running gave Taylor a chance to be a “normal” kid, and I love it for that. At the finish line that day, I made a silent promise to run for Taylor as long as possible, both to honor her incredible courage and to raise awareness of Batten disease, the illness that will take her life.


In November 2013, I returned to the event where Taylor ran her first 5K. To honor the fifth anniversary of her brave 3.1-mile run, I wore a blindfold bearing the phrase “4Taylor,” which I’ve inked on my arm for all of my races. With a guide, I ran the half marathon blindfolded in under two hours. I ran portions of the race “untethered,” and my team and I raised money and gained national exposure for Taylor’s Tale, the non-profit organization I co-founded in Taylor’s honor. My next challenge is to run a race in all 50 states for Taylor.


Aside from the fitness benefit, running is a great way to relieve stress, and I do some of my best thinking on the run. Most of all, it helps me feel close to my little sister, who can no longer run because of her disease. During my blindfolded half marathon, I ran untethered several times, and I never felt closer to Taylor than during those stretches. I imagined her next to me, healthy, her legs in sync with mine, her voice dancing on the wind, her eyes drinking in the earth.


The End of the Race, but Not the End of the Story

By Laura Edwards

Nine days before the race of my life, I received a short email message from a writer asking me if I could do a short interview for a possible feature on my attempt to run Charlotte’s Thunder Road Half Marathon blindfolded in support of my sister, Taylor, and the fight against rare diseases. Between final training runs and race preparations that weekend, I did an interview with Gail Kislevitz of the New York Road Runners.

Runner's World cover

No emotions could match those I felt the day of the race on Saturday, Nov. 16, as I ran 13.1 miles in the dark, led only by my guide, Andrew Swistak, and the courage of my sister, whose presence I felt throughout the morning even though her declining health didn’t allow her to attend. But when I received another email from Kislevitz early on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 19, informing me that our story had been selected for publication, I jumped so high in the air that my head almost hit the ceiling of my closet.

Taylor’s story is moving, and Taylor’s Tale has been lucky to achieve a great deal of local and statewide media coverage since our founding in 2007. The Thunder Road story, in particular, raised our profile and helped us reach a whole new audience, garnering multiple TV, print and online stories and even the cover story in a statewide magazine. But the news that Runner’s World, the world’s largest running magazine, had chosen our story for its What it Takes column made my heart race.

Runner's World columnThe March issue hit newsstands on Friday. I subscribe to Runner’s World, but I raced to the grocery store to purchase a few additional copies. We didn’t get the cover, a full-page story or even a full column, but seeing our names and a phrase I hate with every bone in my body – “Batten disease” – within its pages means everything to me. We may have only gotten a paragraph, but thanks to that paragraph, thousands of people who would have otherwise never heard of Batten disease now know the name of the monster stealing my sister away from us. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll Google it, learn the depths of its horrors and be compelled to help kids like Taylor – a kid who, once upon a time, loved to run – just like them.

And that’s the only reason I’m running this race.

Note: Our story appears in the “What it Takes” column on page 20 of the March issue of Runner’s World magazine. Thanks to the Runner’s World team for their support of our fight against rare diseases!