I suck at running. I look like a fish out of water. Some of my friends think I look like slow motion happening in real time.
In fact, I think I do too.
In 2011 I took part in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay. It was a special moment for me because not only did I get to participate in Rick Hansen’s event bringing awareness to Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI's), I actually “ran” for the first time.
Prior to that I jogged down hallways a little, but ten feet was about all I could do. At the relay I ran about twenty. There was no goal in mind other than to be one of the 7000 participants in helping carry the relay medal through a portion of the run across Canada. The moment itself lasted less than five minutes yet I was very proud.
That was a big milestone for me. In fact, I was stoked!
Fast forward to May 2015. A new event, the Wings For Life World Run, just arrived for the first time in Niagara Falls. Unfortunately I had to miss it because I was competing in the Sledge Hockey World Championships in Buffalo. (We finished second place to the United States)
I was super bummed I couldn't attend the event for two reasons.
Number one - The event is so unique, it's like no other! It's a race with no finish line. You run, walk, or jog as far as you can, or until you get caught by a catcher car. The longest run last year was 79.9km in five hours and five minutes.
Number two - 100% of your entry fee goes to spinal cord research.
In 2016 I am able to attend, so I’ve got my sights set on not only seeing how far I can go but beating my friend Pauly Plewa.
I met Pauly in the summer of 2012 following his accident. Like I did, Pauly sustained a spinal cord injury while riding motocross. Pauly and I instantly hit things off with the motocross background and I have been privileged to give back and help mentor Paul about living life with an SCI.
Pauly attended the 2015 run (Watch Pauly’s story here). Following the 2015 run we had our own race and it looked like this, just to see who really could be the fastest SCI runner.
As you can see, I am like a gazelle, gracefully lugging my body across the pavement.
And Pauly beat me.
On May 8, 2016 in Niagara Falls, ON we will be at the Wings For Life World Run. Pauly and I have initiated a challenge against each other to see who can run/walk/crawl the farthest. Pauly ran 5km last year so I have a benchmark to go by. I have been training by climbing 40 flights of stairs in my building and going for walks as often as I can.
If you’d like to join, you can register here. Registration is $60 per person and 100% of your registration fee goes towards spinal cord research. I am building my own team, Rempels Wings, to help run with me. It would mean so much to me if together we can beat Pauly’s team and work towards finding a cure for spinal cord injuries!