Karin Kratz crosses the finish line marking the completion of her half-marathon, with friends Joan Gillies (in red) and Heather Blyth there to cheer her on. Photo by Terry Farrell

Karin Kratz crosses the finish line marking the completion of her half-marathon, with friends Joan Gillies (in red) and Heather Blyth there to cheer her on. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox woman completes half-marathon in support of Spinal Cord Injury BC

For 16 years, Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCI-BC) has been there, supporting Karin Kratz.

This month, she is giving back.

Kratz completed the SCI-BC Scotiabank Charity Challenge half-marathon Monday morning, in a fundraising effort to show her appreciation to the non-profit society.

Kratz started using a wheelchair in 2004. In 2007, she was accepted into GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver, which she notes as a turning point in her life.

“Over the 16 years that I have been learning about wheelchairs, and how to manipulate them, and how to use them, I have always had some kind of support from Spinal Cord Injury BC,” she said. “Over particularly the past 13 years, I have had hundreds of people giving me support.”

Kratz has been reciprocating that support to others in the community for many years. Eleven years ago, she introduced the sport of wheelchair basketball to the Comox Valley.

“When I got out of GF Strong, I was pretty inspired, so I invited BC Wheelchair Sports to bring ‘Have A Go Days’ here, and in February of 2009, I started the Comox Valley Wheelchair Sports Society, and it has been running wheelchair basketball ever since,” she said.

COVID-19 played a part in making Kratz’s latest achievement possible. In previous years, the SCI-BC Scotiabank Charity Challenge has been held in Vancouver, making it impractical for Kratz to participate.

This year, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the SCI-BC Scotiabank Charity Challenge is a virtual event. Participants can complete their challenge wherever they want, in whatever fashion they choose.

“I have always wanted to do a 5k run to support Spinal Cord Injury BC, but going over on the ferry, getting a hotel, I just can’t afford that,” she said. “So this year, because of COVID, they are having a virtual charity run. You can do it all at one time, you can do it in segments, however you want. I looked at it and I thought, ‘Wow, I can do this.’ So that’s what I signed up for.”

There are five-, 10- and 21-kilometre options for the SCI-BC Scotiabank Charity Challenge. Kratz chose the 21 km distance.

She did her half-marathon in four segments: 10 km on June 29; 5 km on July 2; another 5k on July 4; and the final kilometre on July 5.

Kratz said she had a financial target when she first started her fundraising campaign, but has had to increase that target twice.

“People are so kind and open … all kinds of people stepped up and started donating,” she said. “I’m good with the goal I have set now, but it will be surpassed.”

She credits SCI-BC for her positive outlook.

“Spinal Cord Injury BC is there for when you have the sense that there is nothing you can do,” she said. “When you are in the deepest ‘hurt locker’ you can find, they are there. They have peer supporters, they have information, they share exercises, ideas, links, contacts. They have everything to get you the resources and support you need to get on with your life. I am so grateful. I so appreciate everything I have gotten from them.”

Kratz’s fundraising page is still open and accepting donations.

To donate to her ‘team’ go to https://bit.ly/3gCXxrb


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Karin Kratz, “chilling” after her 10 km segment. Photo supplied

Karin Kratz, “chilling” after her 10 km segment. Photo supplied

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