Double-amputee soldier completes 5K run
After spending more than a year learning how to walk on special carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, Master Cpl. Jody Mitic wanted to run.
Mitic, a member of the 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment battle group based in Petawawa, Ont., stepped on a land mine during a routine patrol in January 2007.
His career as a professional sniper and an elite soldier was over. His long road to recovery began at St. John's Rehab Hospital in Willowdale, Ont., where he learned how to walk on prosthetic legs.
On Sunday, Mitic ran in the Achilles Canada St. Patrick's Day run through downtown Toronto in a time of 38 minutes. Despite experiencing pain, Mitic shaved off eight minutes from his time in last year's race.
"Pretty sure I probably would have stopped at least twice, but everybody was there to cheer me on, so it was good," Mitic said after the race.
Mitic was accompanied by members of his regiment and Canada's chief of defence staff, Gen. Walter Natynczyk.
The team raised $40,000 for the rehabilitation hospital and expect more pledges to come.
Natynczyk said Mitic's achievement demonstrates the soldier's "courage to bounce back."
"It speaks a lot of his spirit, his strength of character, his leadership that he could organize this kind of thing and inspire everybody else," he said.
Even as he was running, Mitic said his mind was on his fellow soldiers bound for Afghanistan.
"I wish I could go with them," he said.
Those wishing to make pledges to Mitic's team can do so at www.stjohnsrehab.com/jodymitic.