Popular Army run to be held virtually

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Cliff Kenyon

Are you ready to run a race?

Here’s your chance while you cheer yourself on.

You can take part in the Canada Army Run wherever you happen to be.

The Ottawa run has been held every year since 2008, but this is the first time it has been a virtual event, sponsored by BMO, Bank of Montreal.

Since 2008, it has been an inspiration for runners. It has been a truly military event with a cannon used as a starter’s pistol and dog tag medals presented to all participants at the finish line. The run is about the armed forces – Air Force, Army and Navy – joining together.

The idea for Canada Army Run was sparked at the 2006 U.S. Army Ten-Miler in Washington D.C. when Lieutenant-General Beare (now retired, but then in the third highest ranked position in the Canadian Army) crossed the finish line. He turned to his Director of Army Training, Colonel Dean Milner (now a Major-General) and asked “Why aren’t we doing this in Canada?” The Colonel replied, “Sir, you’re the general. You tell me!

Canada Army Run is no ordinary race, and 2020 has proven to be no ordinary year. And it’s for a good cause, to raise money for Soldier On and Support Our Troops which funds programs that help ill and injured soldiers and military families in need. Since 2008 the run has raised over $3 million.

“It is with disappointment that the 2020 Canada Army Run physical event has been cancelled due to restrictions and concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our runners, our volunteers, military members, fans, stakeholders, and the public at large, is always our highest priority,” organizers say on their website.

“Despite the cancellation of our traditional event, we are very excited to announce our Canada Army Run: Virtual. Registration is now open!”

Distances for the race, which runs from August to December, are: : 5K, 10K, 15K, 21.1K and 26.1K.

Why do people take part? Organizers explain on their website. You can try armyrun.ca.

“People run, walk or roll in Canada Army Run for many different reasons. Some are trying to break records or achieve personal bests. Some come in memory of parents or grandparents who spent their careers in the military, or of loved ones who lost their lives in the line of duty. Many are honouring sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, or mothers and fathers who are in the military today. Others come to salute Canada’s injured soldiers who participate in Army Run and demonstrate for all the true spirit of ‘soldiering on’. And thousands of others come to simply thank the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces for all they do at home and abroad.”