Stephanie Kurz ran 100 kilometres from Nanaimo to Port Alberni. She made it look easy as she found time to smile and pose for pictures along the way.
But deep inside, Kurz said she felt the stress and the pain of embarking on this challenging journey which she describes as her own personal “mini-marathon of hope.” The goal was to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation and to honour friends and family who are going through the healing process from cancer and also survivors from it.
The herculean run that she achieved on June 2 started at Rocky Point in Nanaimo at 6:30 a.m. with her brother Michael providing vehicle support to ensure her safety. She completed the 100-kilomtre distance in 13 hours, arriving at Sproat Lake at around 7:30 p.m.
“I felt pretty good until the last 10 kilometres or so when my stomach really started to cause some problems for me,” Kurz recalled. “It was also super tough because of the rolling hills to Sproat Lake.”
But Kurz said she did receive extra motivation along the way that kept her focused and driven.
“People came out to cheer along the way and some cars that went by would honk and wave which was amazing,” said Kurz. “Having my brother alongside me was an incredible experience and it was extra special when he got out of the support car and ran up Mt. Arrowsmith with me and also the last few kilometres, giving me encouragement and the energy to finish strong.”
Among those who waited for Kurz was her best friend from Ballenas, Clair Champagne, who she was thrilled to see with her three-year-old daughter.
“She was there to cheer me on,” said Kurz.
Upon reaching her destination, Kurz said what she felt was a “mixture of sweet relief.”
“There were quite a few tears shed at the lakeside,” Kurz said. She was happy to achieve her goal and at the time also blurted out “never again” to undertake an ultra marathon task.
“Then my bro was like, ‘Just wait until you’ve recovered and then I’m sure you’ll be planning your next challenge in no time,’” said Kurz. “He’s right.”
Kurz was able to raise $3,005 for the Terry Fox Foundation.
“It was really special to share that moment with my brother as he’s also battled cancer,” said Kurz. “To just have all this support along the way was incredible.”