Woman Completes Half Marathon 2 Years After Spinal Injury

Monique Koll Has Fought Back From A Debilitating Spinal Injury To Complete A Half Marathon

07.02.2014

A woman who broke her spine after being hit by an unlicensed driver has battled back from her injury to complete a half marathon just two years later.

Monique Koll from Louisiana, US was unsure if she would be able to walk on her own again as a result of the 2012 incident, which occurred while she was preparing for a triathlon, reports the Huffington Post.

Four months after the crash, which left her in a wheelchair, Ms Koll decided she wanted to compete in the Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, having taken part in the event the year before.

As a result, she enlisted the help of her boyfriend to push her through the race until they reached the final stretch, at which point he assisted her in walking across the finish line.

While the feat captured the public imagination, with a photograph of the couple during the half marathon going viral on social media site Reddit, Ms Koll decided to push herself even further by walking the race alone.

She achieved that goal this month, completing the same half marathon in an official time of just under four hours.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Ms Koll said preparing for the race had effectively become her full-time job, as she was unable to return to work after suffering the injury.

"It's been really, really good to have this to focus on," she explained. "There are times that I still get really sad about what happened. Life sucks, and it's not fair, and once you accept that, it's a little bit easier to keep on going."

Ms Koll went on to reveal she is sometimes worried that the photo of her and her partner finishing the race is too romanticised, insisting she and boyfriend Nick Zaunbrecher are just a normal couple.

However, she acknowledged that for many people, it can be helpful to cling to images such as this and pay close attention to her story.

"I want people to know if I can do it, so can you," she added. "If you were in my position, you'd be doing the same thing."

Expert Opinion
The physical and psychological toll which a serious injury has on an individual cannot be overstated. However, this is an incredibly inspirational story of how one woman has been able to battle against the odds to not only recover strongly, but also take a massive step forward in terms of challenging herself.

"It is a unfortunate truth that every year many people suffer life-changing injuries, but this kind of tale highlights that it is still possible to look to the future despite all of the difficulties they may have faced."
Neil Whiteley, Partner