photos and story by Phil Marsh
Once again, Canada’s Capital Region welcomed over 20,000 runners and walkers to the annual Canada Army Run. This year brought unique challenges to the weekend festivities as three tornadoes touched down in the region, causing massive damage and power outages. As Canadians do in times of trouble, folks responded by setting up fundraising pages and donating money, clothes, furniture and food to those affected.
This year, the Battle of Ortona was recognized by the Ortona Challenge, which had participants doing the 5K and the 10K. This new challenge event joined the well-established Commander’s Challenge of the 5K followed by the 21.1K.
On race day, John Stanton was joined by Defence Minister Harjit Saijan, Mayor Jim Watson and Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance in welcoming the injured and ill participants in each event. One notable entry was a 98-year-old veteran of the Battle of Ortona who insisted on participating in his wheelchair along with his family. The traditional blast of the cannon sent everyone out onto the route through the streets of Ottawa and Gatineau in perfect race weather, a reprieve from the downpour and tornado winds only a few days earlier.
Now in its 11th year, the Canada Army Run has raised over $2.5 million dollars for Soldier On, which provides assistance to ill and injured soldiers and military families in need. Congratulations to the participants and many thanks to the organizers and volunteers. As the military always say, we are all part of a very special family and fraternity. This event brings all of us together, to run and walk and celebrate our heroes, our country and our freedom.