Stephani Kurz has completed another personal challenge, a “100 Mile Run to Kill Cancer.”
The former Ballenas athlete took to the road over the weekend, to run 160 kilometres from Parksville to Comox and back, to raise funds for cancer research and to honour her best friend Tegan Carmichael, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010 and passed away last Feb. 19.
The long-distance runner started the journey at 9 a.m. on Saturday and worked her way up to the Comox Valley and made her way back to Parksville the next day in 21 hours and 53 minutes, a bit faster than the 22-hour goal she set for herself.
Throughout the run, Kurz was assisted and escorted in a police cruiser by brother Michael Kurz, a cancer survivor, and friend Sam Culic, an RCMP officer.
“I felt pretty good and strong throughout though the heat definitely got to me,” Kurz said.
“We took a longer break in Comox, about an hour, which helped me recover for the second leg back to Parksville.”
On her way to the Town of Comox, Kurz was greeted and escorted by some members of the Comox Valley Road Runners to Comox Marina Park, where a reception was held for her.
On her way back to Parksville, with the sun on its way down, Kurz said the temperature was just perfect for running but she had to stay on focus.
“I had to dig in mentally at like 3 a.m. because it was really dark and also cool out,” said Kurz.
“And by that point everyone was getting pretty tired but then the sky started lightening at 4 a.m. Then we hit Qualicum Beach right when the sun came up. Literally, I could not have timed it more perfectly.”
It’s another crusade achieved by Kurz, who has been doing long-distance challenges since 2012. She was motivated and inspired by her late friend Carmichael, who has battled through her illness and did as much as she can to raise awareness of cancer.
“I felt Tegan in that sunrise,” said Kurz.
She was greeted again by Claire Champagne, who met her at the finish last year when she ran 100 kilometres from Nanaimo to Port Alberni.
Aside from honouring her friend Carmichael, Kurz also raises funds for BC Cancer Foundation and the Terry Fox Foundation, which she started supporting last year.
This year, Kurz originally targeted $5,000 to raise for the Terry Fox Foundation but in a matter of days she was able to achieved that.
Kurz then upped the ante to $10,000 and to date she has raised $8,406.
To those wishing to make donations, they can go online at http://www.terryfox.ca/100mileruntokillcancer
Kurz said she couldn’t have done the challenge without his brother Michael and friend Culic, who escorted her from start to finish.
“They are incredible and I could not ask for a better support crew,” said Kurz.
“Shout out to Comox Valley Road Runners for the support at halfway and all the messages of support I received throughout the run.