The Courier

The 2023 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) run is open for registration – Supplied photo

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The 2023 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) run has something for everyone.

Whether you walk or run, this virtual event is a healthy way to show your support for the RCAF, by connecting current and former military members and their families with Canadians through sport and fitness. All profits from this year’s RCAF run will go towards the RCAF Centennial Fund in support of next year’s 100-year commemoration of the RCAF as an independent service.

Plans are currently underway for RCAF’s centennial in 2024 which will honour and celebrate its history and heritage while inspiring future generations of Canadians. The theme of the 2023 RCAF run honours the Royal Canadian Air Force Flyers, a rag-tag military hockey team whose performance and accomplishments are “considered one of the greatest moments in
Canadian sports history.”

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Flyers’ gold medal success at the 1948 Winter Olympics held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. In 1909, Sir Montagu Allan of Ravenscrag donated a trophy called the Allan Cup to the winner of the men’s national senior amateur ice hockey championship and until 1964, the winning team represented Canada at the Olympics.

But in 1947, the International Olympic Committee announced that only “amateur” players could play – meaning anyone who had received any kind of financial benefit would not be eligible; and this was the case for most of the members of the Canadian team. So Canada would not be sending a hockey team to the Olympics that year.

RCAF’s senior medical officer Squadron Leader Alexander “Sandy” Watson was disappointed enough to pick up the phone and call the Defence Minister, the Chief of the Air Staff, and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and within 24 hours, he was authorized to put together the first and only military team to play in the Olympics.

They started recruiting current and retired military members and set up a number of exhibition games.
But there was one problem — the team had not gelled and lost all their exhibition games. They were the underdogs when they boarded the ship to make the trip to Europe. What happened next is historic.

They won every game and earned a gold medal for Canada.

The Flyers hockey team disbanded in 1948 and was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in
2008. The 2023 RCAF run is proud to honour the Flyer’s 75th anniversary of its historic Olympic win by showcasing its logo on this year’s race shirts.

Participants of all abilities and fitness levels are invited to achieve their fitness goals at their own pace. Registration is open now at

The virtual race takes place between May 18 and June 4 with a variety of options: 3K, 5K, 10K, half-marathon and a 3K mini-thon (youth run).

The RCAF Flyers celebrate their gold medal win over Switzerland on the outdoor rink at St. Moritz in 1948. Rear row (left to right): André LaPerrière, Hubert Brooks, Andy Gilpin, Ted Hibberd, A. Sydney Dawes, head of the Canadian Olympics Association, Pete Leichnitz, Irving Taylor, Wally Halder, George Mara, Murray Dowey, George McFaul, Frank Boucher, Sandy Watson, and George Dudley, head of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. Kneeling in front (left to right): Roy Forbes, Orville Gravelle, Reg Schroeter, Ab Renaud, Patsy Guzzo, Louis Lecompte and Frank Dunster – Supplied Photo


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