When perseverance pays off | Editorial

Determination. Dedication. Diligence.

Karl Kruger embodies these words – and many more – and he should be an inspiration to us all.

In 2016, Kruger attempted to race on a stand-up paddleboard from Puget Sound to Alaska but had to bow out after his board started to crack under the weight of him and his gear.

It was a disappointment but he remained positive. Kruger threw himself into more rigorous physical training, fundraised $11,000 and got a better board.

Kruger’s year of intense work has now paid off. In 14 days, he paddleboarded 750 miles from Port Townsend to Ketchikan in the “Race to Alaska” – a competition of non-motorized boats sailing unaided along the Inside Passage.

Just picture this: a 45-year-old man, by himself, paddling up to 72 miles per day in a single-minded quest to finish what he started more than a year ago. His body hurt, his hands bled, his stomach growled – and he continued on.

It’s a story with many lessons to take to heart. Kruger couldn’t have done it without the support of his wife Jessica and daughter Dagny, who have been his biggest champions. It was also made possible by a generous community who saw the value in his mission. And most critically, Kruger was driven by a belief in himself to defy preconceptions about age and ability.

As media outlets like NPR and the Seattle Times cover Kruger’s adventure, we can’t help but smile. He is one of ours, and we are so very proud to congratulate Kruger on his accomplishment.