Feb 14, 2014 6:54 AM by Elizabeth Hill
"My story is good, but it's so great to see the people around me and how good their stories are."
Though she's happy her journey can inspire others, Monique Koll is forever humble about her accomplishments.
"Nobody's struggle is any harder or less hard than mine."
While training for a triathalon in October of 2012, Koll was hit by a car on her bike in Lafayette. She broke her neck and, as a result, lost basic function in her arms and hands and couldn't walk.
During last year's New Orleans Rock N' Roll half marathon, just a few months after her accident, Koll's boyfriend pushed her in a wheelchair until they got near the finish line. With his help, she walked across the finish line and a picture of it went viral.
Since then, Koll's goal was to complete this year's Rock N' Roll half-marathon on her own. She did it. Walking for six hours until she crossed the finish line once again.
Her relentless drive has taken her from wheelchair bound to walking a half-marathon. A challenge she was excited for, but a little apprehensive about too.
"The longest walk so far had been nine miles and a half marathon is 13.1, so I wasn't going to tell anyone, but I wasn't entirely sure how I'd be able to do it all."
With family and friends by her side she did it and now she's planning to do it again in March at Lafayette's Zydeco Marathon.
"I wonder if I can go faster, if I can go faster that'd be great, but my main goal this time is to be able to do it strong."
"she's always ready to work, has an incredible amount of drive and her drive is infectious."
Trainer Damian Living says seeing Koll improve and get stronger has been rewarding. He says he's welcomed the challenge.
"It's rare that you have to actually slow a client down sometimes, but she's always ready to work."
Koll says her posture and balance have improved and she's getting stronger. One thing she still struggles with is co-contractions in her right leg that make it difficult for her to bend her knee fast enough to run.
"I had to become a little more creative in some of the movements," says Living.
Koll's focus and drive have helped her get this far, but she says it's a double edged sword.
"Sometimes I don't remember how far I've come and I still get really sad because I still can't work a job just yet and I still can't race just yet, but f I take a step back and think about how the goal has helped me progress and how far I've come then yeah, it's a really great feeling."
You can cheer Monique on as she walks the Zydeco Marathon. That's right here in Lafayette Sunday, March 30. For registration information or race details click here.
If you'd like to keep up with Monique and learn more about her journey follow her blog.