Okanagan Paralympian leads national run

Josh Dueck is one of nine men affected by spinal cord injuries leading a mission to run across Canada.

Sochi, Russia.15/03/2014- Canadian Josh Dueck celebrates his gold medal in the mens super combined sit skiing with silver medalist Heath Calhoun from the United States and Bronze medalist Roman Rabl from Austria,during the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.Photo(Scott Grant/Canadian Paralympic Committee

Paralympic sit skier Josh Dueck will lead a run in Vernon, “for those who can’t.”

The local athlete has been a supporter of the Wings for Life World Run for several years. As part of #TeamCoast2Coast, the family man will lead a group of runners from the from the boat launch at Kekuli Bay Provincial Park along the newly opened Okanagan Rail Trail. As homage to the recent passing of his father, this run with be particularly meaningful to him and his family.

Related: Vernon’s Josh Dueck wins silver at Paralympic Games

Related: Dueck answers Hall’s call

Spinal cord injury has united a group of Canadians, including Dueck, who will come together for the Wings For Life World Run on May 5.

Formally diagnosed quadriplegics, Jim Mullan and Mike Shaw, formed #TeamCoast2Coast with the mission to cumulatively log 5,550 km, raising funds and awareness for spinal cord injury. Through the use of an app, anyone can join their team and every registered runner will contribute to the team’s overall goal. Download the app for free at wingsforlifeworldrun.com.

This is a global race, with a common global start time, with no finish line. Runners are challenged to outpace a ‘catcher car’ which really allows you to push your limits. All proceeds go to the Wings for Life foundation, founding research studies around the globe, including 30 in Canada to date.

Each of the nine ambassadors is currently paralyzed or has recovered from a spinal cord injury.

“To be told you will never be able to walk again is the loneliest feeling thing in the world,” said Jim Mullen. “Meeting Mike made me realize I was not alone and that was an incredibly powerful moment for me. Mike and I decided we didn’t want others to feel alone either and that is how we came up with the idea to put #TeamCoast2Coast in the Wings For Life World Run.”

Through mutual adversity, Mike and Jim have formed a relationship and have built a network of spinal cord injury ambassadors to join them in their mission. Former professional mountain biker Andrew Cho (Vancouver), Paralympic sit-skier Josh Dueck (Vernon), Humboldt survivor Ryan Straschnitzki (Calgary), race car driver Pauly Plewa (Dunnville) sledge hockey Paralympian Kevin Rempel (Toronto) marathon runner Robert MacDonald (Toronto) and former professional wakeboarder Ben Leclair (Montreal), allowing even more Canadians to contribute as many kilometres as they can.

To register for the Vernon run, visit https://www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/ca/en/app-run-vernon/.

Related: Dueck named keynote speaker

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