Shoshana Litvack

Legally blind runner surpasses her goal

South Surrey mother of two, Shoshana Litvack, ran five kilometres a day in 2016 and raised more than $9,000.

Rain, shine, sleet or snow; Shoshana Litvack made good on her promise to run five kilometres a day, every day, for the duration of 2016.

A feat accomplished by few, she doubled down on the challenge by turning it into a fundraiser. To make it more difficult; she set a goal of running 2,000 kilometres total.

And if that wasn’t hard enough, the 47-year-old mother of two is legally blind.

“I was exhausted at the end,” Litvack told Peace Arch News Monday.

Litvack, who lives in Rosemary Heights, suffers from optic atrophy and progressively lost her eyesight from the time she was six months old until she was two. The degeneration of her optic nerves left her with seven per cent vision in her left eye and five per cent in her right eye.

Last year, she pledged to raise money for the BC Lung Association by placing $1 in a jar every day she completed a run. When she would take a rest day, about once a month, she would place $5 in a jar.

She set a fundraising goal of $500, but quickly realized that she could accomplish much more.

“I changed it to $5,000, then I changed it to $7,500, then I changed it to $8,500. My secret goal was $10,000, but I did not make it,” she said.

Ultimately, Litvack was able to secure $9,026 for the lung association.

“I’m super proud of my results,” she said.

Throughout the year, she held small fundraisers with Barre Fitness, located in Morgan Crossing. She also co-ordinated a Laps for Lungs fundraiser at her son’s school, Morgan Elementary, which raised $2,700.

She said the money was flowing in, but by the end of the year she was going to be just shy of her 2,000-km goal.

“I realized towards the end of November that I was getting close to 2,000. I decided that I would do 2,000 no matter what.”

To reach the goal, she had to run an additional five kilometres every day in December, which she described as “the hardest month.”

“It was brutal. There was one day it was so icy, it was super dangerous,” she said.

She doesn’t own a treadmill, but was still motivated to run.

“Try doing 10 kilometres inside a house… I was running up and down my stairs, running around my living-room. It was insane, but I got it done… I think that took me about an hour-and-a-half, it was ridiculous.”

She ran her 2,000th kilometre on Dec. 31.

To fuel her body, she says she eats 4,000 calories a day – approximately double the average needed for a physically inactive woman.

After such a physically demanding and exhausting year, one would think a celebration of fatty foods and guilty pleasures would be in order – but not Litvack.

“The polar bear swim ended up being (the celebration). I felt so strong and I looked pretty damn good after a year of running,” she said.

“After I ran my 2,000, for some reason I expected the sky to open up and bells to go off, choir singing, whatever. But nothing happened. I ran my 2,000, and wow, I’m done, what’s my next goal?”

This year, she’s doing a similar challenge, but instead of running everyday, she will do the cardiovascular equivalent.

“Once a month I will try something new in the world of fitness. This month, it will be spin. I have never been much of a cyclist, so I’ve chosen it to be the first real challenge.”

Barre Fitness has committed to supporting Litvack again this year. She also hopes co-ordinate a second year of Laps for Lungs at her son’s school.

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