Canada Army run is a virtual go!

Article / August 19, 2020 / Project number: 20-0106

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By Moira Farr, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — Let’s state the obvious up front: the Canadian Army Run looks very different this year, due to the pandemic.

While participants may miss the excitement and inspiration of thousands of people gathered for a great cause in one place on one day, they can keep the spirit of the race alive—and thousands of runners are doing just that—by participating in the race virtually. 

Everyone hopes that future Army Runs will be able to bring people together again in the nation’s capital. Despite pandemic restrictions, this year’s event does offer the new unique advantages of being open to participants from across the country. 

For one, participants have the opportunity to run any time between September 12th and September 20th, creating their own routes close to home. That means having a little more control over the weather conditions in which they run (or walk, or roll) to their distance and finish line of choice. “I’ve done the Army Run where I was freezing cold and wearing layers, and I’ve done it where I had to buy a water belt,” says Army Run Ambassador Christine Cassey, who will run this year’s race with family members and friends in her hometown of Acton, Ontario. “This year, if it’s bucketing down, you could change the day,” she points out.

Not only is there flexibility as to when individual participants can race between September 12th and 20th, this year anyone, anywhere, can join in, with zero travel costs.

“My mother is participating, and she lives in the lower mainland of B.C.,” says Major Lesley Quinlan, first-time race director, and an accomplished triathlete herself.

Welcoming so many new participants all over Canada and internationally is an exciting element this year, she says. “When I go to the event page from my end, I can see a map that shows a red dot where all the participants are from.” Maj Quinlan is seeing red dots popping up in every province, as well as the U.S., the U.K, western Europe, Australia and South Korea.

Maj Quinlan also stresses that the race is open to participants at every level of ability. “You don’t need to be a serious athlete. You can walk the whole route if you want. My mother has never done a run — she’ll probably do a little run-walk.”

That’s a particularly important message this year for Ashley Walton, who has been an Army Run Ambassador for three years. “Last year, I was in a traumatic accident. I was a cyclist struck by a truck. I’ve been in recovery for a year now and am not running race ready,” she says, “but I am still going to do the Army Run. I’ll just be walking the 5K, but I will be participating.”

Not every popular element of the race can be transferred online, but there will be a Virtual Remembrance Row, presented in partnership with the Royal Canadian Legion. Any registered participant who wishes to pay tribute to a Canadian Armed Forces veteran who has passed on may post their stories. 

Also available this year is an updated app that anyone can use to access information about Canada Army Run, which will be available to download later this month. 

As in previous years, Canada Army Run raises funds for Soldier On and Support Our Troops. These two funds are critical in helping retired and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families meet a variety of challenges associated with their service to Canada.

For more information on how to participate, go to Armyrun.ca

To comment on this article, visit the Canadian Army's Facebook Notes

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