This year, in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday; My family and I trekked to Ottawa, to run the Canada Army Run. With it’s many choices of distances, its location in our capital city, and its support of our armed forces; it should be on every Canadian’s bucket list!
This year, racers got to choose from distances of 5km, 10km, a half marathon; and the Commander’s challenge, which involved running the 5km distance, and then running the half marathon, soon after. The Commander’s challenge is the perfect race for runners who wish to share the day with their younger children or significant others; who may not be as enthusiastic about the self torture of longer races. The 5 km race proved to be a great distance for my middle school and junior high school children and it proved to be a good warm up for my half marathon. Of course not everyone treated the 5km race as a warm up. My daughters and I were surprised as Justin Trudeau and his posse of security guards blew by us; at a blistering pace, on their way to a 23 minute finishing time! Our defense minister; Harjit Sajjan, blew by us soon afterwards, on his way to a respectable 25 minute finish time. They were only two of the many politicians, and celebrities I saw on and around the course that day! As I ran along the course, through two provinces, and past beautiful historic buildings and landmarks, I was reminded of just how special this city is.
As everyone knows though. It is not just the location and the scenery that makes a great race. It is the people too. This was the 1oth running of this race, and the skill and professionalism of the race organizers was evident every where. The roads were effectively closed to auto traffic yet the course was very accessible to spectators. Every where I looked there were hundreds of spectators eagerly cheering on the runners. During the race, my wife was able to jockey for a good picture taking position twice, while dragging around a dog on a leash and two children, after they had run their 5k! This year the organizers had even set up a remembrance row where labeled pictures of past and present members of our armed forces were proudly put on display. The spectators and race organizers were even ready for a curve ball tossed their way by the mother nature! The weather leading up to the race was expected to be a typical cool late summer day. Instead it turned out to be very hot; which could have been disastrous in this infamously humid city! The race organizers were prepared with plenty of extra supplies and staff at the water stations and they set up mist stations at regular intervals along the route. The spectators also stepped up by hooking up spray hoses, handing out water of their own, and supplying cold wet sponges to us suffering runners.
As I ran the race, I was constantly reminded of why we were all here… This race was organized to enable civilian runners and run supporters, to show our support of and pride for the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces. On this date; for the past 10 years, we have been provided with this opportunity to give something back to the people who sacrifice so much, for us and our country.