Koh is not running scared

Two years on from a horrific accident that already required 19 operations, Kirsten Koh's road to recovery goes beyond mending broken bones and dreams.

Hoping to inspire others with her story of torment and triumph, the amateur triathlete gave a motivational talk at the Royal Plaza on Scotts on Tuesday.

The former polytechnic lecturer is also marking the second anniversary of her ordeal by competing in Saturday's Sundown Marathon.

She was among the event's inspiring figures last year, completing the 42.195km journey in 10½ hours.

This was barely a year after she was hit by a lorry and dragged underneath it for 15 metres.

Subsequently bed-ridden for 2½ months, Koh never lost hope - a message she now wants to share with others.

"My angle as a motivational speaker is not just to find true grit within oneself, but also to recognise when you need others' help and to embrace that," said the 33-year-old, who is pursuing a sports science PhD at the University of Western Australia.

With the support of friends and family, Koh is determined to freely run, swim and cycle again, despite the "tremendous pain" that still burdens her.

In the past year, she completed two open water swims and two triathlons.

At the Busselton 70.3 Ironman in Western Australia earlier this month, she was given a special award for persistence and courage. But there have been setbacks along the way.

Koh's left knee - already operated on three times to insert metal implants - continues to trouble her and more surgery might be required to remove scar tissue.

The fitness aficionado also has to re-learn her running stride after months of complete rest in bed.

While that is easier said than done, Koh does not want people to feel sorry for her.

She said: "I do not do anything special except that I do train through pain a lot of the time.

"I am very much the girl-next-door who is doing what she can to get her life back in order."

nsanjay@sph.com.sg


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