FOWLER, Mich. (WLNS) – On Monday, thousands of people will be flocking to Boston for the 127th running of the Boston Marathon. This year’s race will feature nearly 30,000 athletes from over 100 countries, including Fowler native Adysen Koenigsknecht.

From a young age, running has always been a passion for Adysen but by the time she reached the eighth-grade, simple tasks like getting up the stairs became difficult for her.

“I started having acid reflux a lot and I would have to sit up when I was sleeping,” Koenigsknecht said. “I just remember every night it was so hard for me to fall asleep because I just had to sleep sitting up.”

“It wasn’t until she was a senior, right around Christmas and she was just really pale, she was really thin and she just didn’t look good,” Tricia Koenigsknecht, Adysen’s mom said. “So we took her to the doctor, they did the blood draw and I’ll just never forget that day.”

Adysen was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that’s triggered by consuming gluten and results in damage to the small intestine. Once doctors got her feeling better, it didn’t take her long to get back out on the trails.

“She was a month out of the hospital and she’s like ‘I’m gonna go run this half marathon after school.’ And I said ‘Okay… I mean you went from not being able to do anything,’ Tricia said. “I didn’t want to discourage her from doing it but I was really nervous.”

“Five months later I signed up for an actual half marathon race,” Adysen said. “I did that and I just really liked it so then I signed up for another one a couple of months later and I did that and I was like ‘Okay, I think I can do a marathon!’ So I signed up and did the Charlevoix Marathon and I didn’t have any expectations about qualifying for Boston. I just ran the best I could do that day.”

To qualify for the Boston Marathon, Adysen needed a time of three hours and 30 minutes or better. She clocked a time of three hours, 10 minutes and 38 seconds.

“I just remember just being kind of emotional about it like how far I’ve come from not being able to run, to getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease to just feeling so much better and being able to do the things that I’ve always wished I could do,” Adsyen said.

This journey is one Adysen embraces but it didn’t come easy. Having accomplished all that she has, what piece of advice would she give to her younger self?

“It doesn’t have to happen in high school in order to be successful,” Adysen said. “You don’t have to have state championships and win all these events or win this and that. You can still succeed outside of high school. I was never really athletic so I kind of felt that way, like I am not that good at sports and everyone has these successes and I don’t. It just feels kinda good now because it’s not over for you. Just never doubt yourself because you can do anything you set your mind to.”

“In high school, she always wanted to have that thing to be good at something and now she has it,” Tricia said. “She is the epitome of hard work, resilience and just her work ethic is just second to none.”

Adysen will soon get to cross running the Boston Marathon off of her bucket list, but she’s already got a new goal ready to take its place in getting her Dental Hygiene degree from Lansing Community College. Following the race she will immediately hop on a plane to ensure she will not miss her 8 am class on Tuesday.