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Merville marathoner to climb stairs for charity

Jan Kotyk undertakes ‘12 Hours of Stairs’ Jan. 9 at Goose Spit
Jan Kotyk and his son Asher. Photo supplied

Jan Kotyk is embarking on another fundraising venture that will stretch his endurance to its limit.

Last spring, the Merville man ran 200-plus kilometres in three days of rain, wind, snow and slush on the northern end of Vancouver Island to raise money for the Comox Valley charity YANA (You Are Not Alone).

READ: Merville man runs three days to raise money for charity

This time, he will be hiking up and down the length of the stairs at Goose Spit for 12 hours, beginning at 4 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 9. Any funds he can raise from his 12 Hours of Stairs event will benefit the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, which supports children and youth with health challenges.

Kotyk and his wife Erin have an eight-year-old son, Asher, who was diagnosed with congenital heart disease shortly after he was born. He underwent three open-heart surgeries before he was two years old.

YANA has helped the couple with travel costs to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. The Health Foundation’s Bear Essentials program has provided money for Asher to participate in art therapy sessions in Comox.

“It’s been extremely beneficial for Asher,” Kotyk said, noting the therapy has helped with his son’s behaviour and coping mechanisms. It’s also helped with diagnosis for designations to access extra help that Asher needs in school and at home. “He’s got some motor skills that are a bit behind for his age. You wouldn’t know just by looking at him, but we can see as parents, and we see those struggles.”

As for stair climbing at Goose Spit, Kotyk has run up and down 14 times — which he’ll need to do many times over on Jan. 9.

When he lived in Golden, Kotyk completed the Golden Ultra mountain stage race on four occasions.

“I enjoy the suffering,” he said. “My training seems to never line up with my actual longer distances, but it never deters me from doing them.”

He hopes the 12 Hours of Stairs will raise $3,000.

Donate to the cause at

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