Face of the Race: Jared Koch

Local News

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — One man made it his mission to include running in his daily ritual.

At first it was for his health, but now it’s become a big part of his life. Running is familiar ground for Jared Koch. It started as a high school hobby.

But several years back, a diagnosis changed its meaning. Then, koch was in unfamiliar territory; Parkinson’s Disease.

“On my third second opinion that I received, I finally came to acceptance with it and realized that it’s something I’m going to have to deal with,” said Koch. “It’s definitely a progressive, neuroglogical disease, so over time, the symptoms progress and get worse. You can only take so much medication.”

Doctors told him a healthy, daily jog may be the best medicine. Koch said, the treatment turned out to be both physical and spiritual.

“It definitely helps with the symptoms, but beyond that, it just gives me clarity and as any healthy exercise does, makes you feel better,” said Koch.

It didn’t take long for his biggest support system to go all in.

“My wife and my family are very supportive of this. My wife is actually running the half marathon with me.”

Whether he’s running solo, or running alongside his wife and daughter, Koch carries this mantra: “It’s not going to kill me, it’s just going to slow me down.”

But nothing will stop him…not strong winds…not even the worst of winter.

“I do it in 6 degree weather, when the polar vortex came through, and I just have a choice, and for me it’s to get up and move.”

He’ll keep moving, even after he crosses the finish line of the Christie Clinic Illinois Half Marathon.

Koch said his next stop after this will be the Chicago Marathon, and that will be his first full marathon.

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