Over the course of three days, Jan Kotyk of Merville ran 203.77 kilometres, with an elevation gain of 1,659 metres, on the northern end of Vancouver Island. He spent 27 hours and seven minutes covering the distance.
He did it to raise money for YANA (You Are Not Alone), a Comox Valley charity that supports families that need to travel outside the community for medical treatment for a child under 19 or for a pregnant mother.
“I ran through sun, rain, hail, snow and slush,” Kotyk said. “I awoke a herd of elk that were sleeping in a cutblock just off the road, and I received many waves, honks and cheers that kept me pushing on.”
The ultra-marathon said this was his way of thanking the charity for supporting him and his wife Erin as they trekked to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for treatments for their son Asher.
Kotyk’s brother Jared accompanied him over the three days in his RV, which provided a place to sleep.
Starting from his house in Merville, Kotyk had planned to run three-hour segments from dawn till dusk, but found it worked better to run 10-25 km stretches, depending on weather, his physical and mental state, or how many hills lay ahead.
He and Jared would plan roughly where to meet after each segment.
“He always found a great pullout within a kilometre of where we had decided. There, he would have my meal ready, and I would stretch and discuss the next section that lay ahead.”
Kotyk had hoped to run a fourth day and reach Port McNeill. However, his body was fatigued, and his feet were swollen. His left Achilles tendon was also becoming troublesome.
“I knew it would be foolish to run any further,” Kotyk said. “We discussed every possible option but in the end made the tough decision to stop.”
He returned home to a homemade banner painted by Asher, and food prepared by Erin.
So far Kotyk has raised $3,443.
He continues to accept donations for YANA.