Local runner Cathy Kowal will be taking part in a 42-km run Jan. 7 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fl. to help raise money for arthritis research on behalf of local resident and arthritis sufferer Melvin Haukaas.
“It is pretty much consuming my days now,” admitted Kowal, a member of the First Nations police force. “I am excited about the whole thing but there is a little bit of stress that comes with it, too.”
One of just three women taking part from Northwestern Ontario, and 90 from all of Ontario, Kowal has been busy getting into shape.
“I have been swimming three times a week and I will start to lighten up on my weights,” she noted. “I plan to keep up with my swimming to give my legs a break but it is really important to keep up my cardiovascular.”
Hoping to complete the run in under four hours, Kowal recently completed her final run and is hoping for a personal best time in Florida.
“I had my final run last Thursday,” she said. “It was a 38-km run and I did it in four hours.
“I am hoping that I will be able to finish the marathon in under four hours. But if I can’t, then I will aim for my next goal—four hours and 30 minutes.”
Kowal is aware of the competition she will be up against next month.
“At the marathon, they put you shoulder to shoulder,” she explained. “There will be thousands and thousands of runners so it may take me [a while] just to get across the starting line.
“They arrange you according to a form you submit stating what your estimated finishing time will be,” she noted. “I put down that I would finish in four hours while there will be literally world-renowned runners who have said they can complete the run in two hours.”
In addition to the physical work getting ready for the run, Kowal also has been busy collecting pledges.
“I had set a goal of $5,000 when I first started,” she said. “As of right now, we have collected just under $6,000. The community has been just great and the response has been excellent.”