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Florida woman who survived hippo attack trains for Run Disney

She will participate in a 5K run
Posted at 10:30 PM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 06:28:12-05

TAMPA, Fla. - The Florida woman who was attacked by a hippopotamus a year ago will participate in her first 5k race since the attack.

Kristen Yaldor and her husband, Ryan, were on a canoe on Zimbabwe's Zambezi River on December 1, 2018.

The guides saw hippos on the right side of the river and instructed guests to paddle to the left, away from them. She said the a hippo knocked over the canoe.

"It came underneath the canoe. It gave a big thud. Ryan and I got launched into the air. I fell towards the deep side and he fell backwards towards the shallow side," said Kristen Yaldor.

She said she remained calm and held her breath.

"I tried to grab for its mouth to pry it open knowing that I am not strong enough to do so, but at least to try and provoke it and get it to loosen up and let me go," she said.

Yaldor said she broke her femur and needed a skin graph. She spent weeks at several hospitals following the attack. She had surgery last month and will need at least 10 more surgeries. She still has mobility issues and goes to physical therapy.

"So to me, setting a goal and having that achievement and something to work towards gave me that progress to fight for during this healing time," said Yaldor.

Her husband signed her up for the Disney race on Thursday. She will be wearing a shirt with a photo of a hippo on it. Her husband will be wearing a hippo costume.

"I told him if I am able to achieve the goal and reach the commitment and time requirement to do the Run Disney, I would want him to wear a hippo costume," said Yaldor.

"Just bring some fun and as much humor as we can to look past it," she added.

Yaldor was athletic before the race and achieved half marathons and triathlons.

She believes you cannot let fear keep you from living.

"Whatever the situation, you still want to live to the fullest. You want to enjoy your time and your life," she said.