Canada Army Run commemorates anniversary of the Battle of Normandy

Article / September 9, 2019 / Project number: 19-0223

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By Michael Timmermans, Communications Manager, Canada Army Run

Registration for this outstanding community event will be closing on September 16, and there are limited spots still available.

Ottawa, Ontario — On September 22, 2019, the 12th annual Canada Army Run will welcome over 20,000 participants as they run, walk and roll in this unique fitness, outreach and fundraising event held in the National Capital Region. 2019 will see the first edition of Army Run at its brand new location, the Canadian War Museum.

“Moving to the Canadian War Museum is a natural fit for Canada Army Run. The Museum is a destination people from all over the world come to see. It adds even more military flavour to Army Run and we couldn’t ask for a better partner,” said Major Dave Tischhauser, Canada Army Run’s Race Director.

In addition to the traditional 5K, 10K and half marathon race events held this year on brand new routes, Canada Army Run is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy and D-Day in 2019 with the Normandy Challenge, where participants will run or roll in both the 5K and 10K events, back-to-back, to honour the brave Canadians who fought in this historic Second World War battle.

This follows Army Run’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 2017 and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War Battle of Ortona in 2018. For 2020, Army Run plans on marking 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe with its 5K plus 10K Challenge in 2020.

Canadians took part in many victories during the Second World War, with the Battle of Normandy and D-Day among the best-known examples.

Victory at Normandy came at a high cost, with Canadians suffering the highest casualties within the British Army Group. On D-Day alone, 359 Canadian soldiers died, and more than 5,000 lost their lives during the two and a half months of fighting in Normandy. More than 13,000 more were wounded, many suffering injuries to their bodies and minds that they would carry for the remainder of their lives.

Canada’s impressive efforts in the Second World War remain a point of great national pride these many decades later. More than a million Canadians served during the Second World War.

Canada Army Run participants regularly share their experiences through the event’s website. France Hurley shared: “Army Run is a very special day to honor and pay tribute to our proud military family. Being the proud daughter, wife, mother and sister of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, we have a legacy of understanding the importance of our serving military and veterans.”

“Army Run gave us a chance to honor my grandfather who fought in the First World War at Vimy Ridge,” said Ms. Hurley. “My brother served in Kuwait, my husband served for 22 years and our son is a current serving member who has done two tours in Afghanistan and a tour in Kuwait,” she said.

Also returning for a fourth year is the signature Army Run distance event, the Commander’s Challenge, where participants take on the 5K and half marathon one after the other in pursuit of this ultimate test of pace and endurance.

“I am excited to be a part of Canada Army Run this year, my first after taking command of the Canadian Army earlier this summer,” said Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, Commander, Canadian Army.

“This is the Army’s largest outreach event and we welcome all participants and spectators to take part in the weekend’s activities. Come learn about the Canadian Army and the great causes Canada Army Run supports. The Canadian Army takes great pride in serving Canadians and this event is an opportunity for our soldiers to connect with Canadians and for Canadians to connect with our men and women in uniform.”

This year, all participants in the Normandy Challenge and Commander’s Challenge will receive unique clothing and race bibs, and, upon successfully completing the Challenges, will receive a special commemorative finisher medal from a Canadian soldier in addition to the traditional military dog tag themed medals for the individual distances.

“My first Canada Army Run came after seeing a promotion at the US Army Ten-Miler,” said Michael Yowell, event ambassador with Army Run’s Frontline Race Team from Omaha, Nebraska.

“I thought: ‘why not?’ and I've been hooked since,” said Mr. Yowell. “I love the Commander's Challenge and my best half marathon times have been set in Ottawa! Bar none, you'll never regret being part of Army Run!”

In addition to the running events, there is also a full roster of free activities for all ages lined up for the race weekend, including the Juno Challenge, a child-friendly obstacle course hosted by the Canadian Army mascot Juno the Bear.

The weekend is also a chance to meet the men and women of the Canadian Army, see firsthand the equipment they use and learn about the work they do across the country and around the world.

According to Chris Cassey, an athlete and Frontline Race Team member: “Canada Army Run has become a family tradition. We have serving family members (including my spouse) and, every year, he and I travel with his mom to participate. There’s really nothing like it! The experience is electric from expo to finish line.”

Canada Army Run is a chance for the troops to thank Canadians for their support, and for Canadians to thank the men and women who serve them at home and abroad.

Canada Army Run, presented by BMO Bank of Montreal, is no ordinary race and is one of the most inspiring events of its kind in the country. Civilians, Canadian Armed Forces personnel and participants of all ages and abilities take part together, showing their pride as Canadians and as supporters of fitness.

From the Howitzer cannon used as a starter gun to the dog-tag-inspired medals which soldiers award to the races’ finishers at the finish line, Canada Army Run is military-themed from start to finish.

For Hurley: “It's a day not to be missed for the wonderful atmosphere and comradery that has become a family tradition. Army Run is a chance to get together as a family to honour our loved ones and all those currently serving,” she said.

On September 22, 2019, Canada Army Run will welcome over 20,000 participants as they run, walk and roll in a unique fitness, outreach and fundraising event held in the National Capital Region. The event will be held at its new location, the Canadian War Museum, and will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy and D-Day.

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