Monique Koll is dedicated to running marathons, but when she got hit by an unlicensed driver while riding her bike, training for a triathlon she wasn’t sure she would be able to walk again. The accident resulted in a broken spine which confined her to using a wheelchair. However, after around four months Monique still wanted to compete in 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, which she had run the year before in two hours, 16 minutes. So Monique participated in the 2013 marathon on her wheelchair, being pushed by her boyfriend Nick Zaunbrecher, and then walked the last stage of the race with Nick’s help.
This picture of Nick helping Monique cross the finish line became viral through Reddit where the online community wished her a speedy recovery and began following her story
This year Monique Koll was determined to walk the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon on her own. She trained vigorously this last year doing two hours of physical therapy three days a week, taking Pilates classes twice a week, alongwith biking, walking, swimming and cross-training in between. All this hardwork paid off Sunday when she completed the Marathon in just under four hours. Monique says that the last two years have been a struggle but she’s tried to remain focused on moving forward. “There are times that I still get really sad about what happened,” she said in an interview. “Life sucks, and it’s not fair and once you accept that, it’s a little bit easier to keep on going.”
Her boyfriend, Nick, also shares that her girlfriend is nothing short of an inspiration motivating him to keep moving forward and finding things that matter. Monique, however, says that she believed the photo of her and Nick is being highly romanticized and that they were a regular couple with their normal ups and downs. “I want people to know if I can do it, so can you. If you were in my position, you’d be doing the same thing,” Monique says. “And always, always cherish what you have.”