From the cannon used as a “starter’s pistol” to the “dog-tag” medals soldiers place around all participants necks at the finish line, this unique event is “military” from start to finish. More than anything, though, Canada Army Run, is about Canadians and the Canadian Armed Forces – Air Force, Army, and Navy – joining together in the spirit of camaraderie and community. It’s a chance for the troops to extend the military esprit de corps to Canadians and to thank them for their support. And, it’s an opportunity for Canadians to say thanks to the men and women who serve them in so many ways at home and abroad.
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!”
MAJOR CHRIS HORECZY is appointed the first Canada Army Run Director and tasked with bringing the idea to fruition. “Generals had the idea,” said LGen Beare, “but delivering the goods? That was Chris Horeczy.” Since 2009, the position of Canada Army Run Director has been held by Major Luc Frenette (2010, 2011), Major Simon Côté (2012, 2013), and Major Gus Garant (current Run Director).
RUNNING ROOM MAGAZINE runs a cover story on the upcoming first-ever Canada Army Run and becomes a major sponsor and supporter of the event. Their support has been unwavering and remains invaluable to this day.
ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2008, 7,000 civilians and military personnel participate in the first Canada Army Run, surpassing expectations of 1,000 participants and shattering records for the largest number of entrants for an inaugural Canadian run.
CANADA ARMY RUN grows by 50 percent, to 11,000 people, and is recognized as the fastest growing run in the country.
“This kind of growth is unheard of in the running community, and sets the event up for a very exciting future.” John Halvorsen, President of Run Ottawa
MASTER CORPORAL JODY MITIC, who lost both legs in a landmine accident in Afghanistan, captures the interest of Canadians across the country when he successfully completes his first-ever half marathon using prosthetic legs.
More than 14,000 Canadians and military personnel walked, ran, or rolled in the third annual Canada Army Run.
The theme for 2010 was ‘Many Stories, One Inspiring Run’. Participants young and old, able and disabled, military and civilian, came to achieve personal bests, to honour family and friends in the military or in memory of loved ones who lost their lives in the line of duty. And thousands participated simply to show their support for the troops.
Rick Ball, a single-leg amputee who in 2009 earned a half marathon world record at Canada Army Run, taught a two-day advanced skills training clinic held for ill and injured military personnel. The clinic was facilitated by Soldier On in partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Athletics Canada, and the Canadian Forces Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program.
FIVE-TIME PARALYMPIAN medal recipient Jason Dunkerley – one of the world’s most prominent visually impaired middle-distance runners – runs his first Canada Army Run in 2011. He has run several times since. In 2012, he was a guest speaker at the Pasta Dinner.
Canada Army Run Celebrated its 5th Anniversary with a special change to the logo.
New finisher medals were launched, featuring the same design of the Canadian Armed Forces dog tag.
New categories were added to the Ill, Injured & Disabled categories, honouring the visually impaired and handcyclists.
The Cheering Challenge was launched, with six non-profits, schools, cadet corps and charities competed for top prizes.
THEIR EXCELLENCIES the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston become the first patrons of Canada Army Run.
THE GROUNDS OF RIDEAU HALL – the official residence and workplace of the Governor General – become part of the half marathon course.
HONORARY COLONEL RICK HANSEN – one of the world’s most decorated Paralympic athletes and accessibility advocates – participates in his first-ever Canada Army Run (in the 5K) and is the guest-speaker at the sold-out Pasta Dinner.
CANADA ARMY RUN wins the Community Spirit Award at the Ottawa Tourism Awards Ceremony, and is recognized for its role in bringing together the local, national, and military communities in support of Canada’s men and women in uniform.
THE COMMANDER’S CHALLENGE event is added to the Canada Army Run weekend line up. The Challenge is an official event within Canada Army Run where participants run, walk or roll officially in BOTH the 5K and half marathon events. Limited to 2000 entrants in its first year, the inaugural Commander’s Challenge sold out fast. The Challenge returns for 2017.
September 2017 marks the tenth annual Canada Army Run. To celebrate this milestone, a new 10K event was added to the line-up for 2017.
3-Person Relay – NEW for 2017: Build a team and take on all courses with this new challenge! Each participant will receive their own bib, and you may start your race even if your teammate is still out on course
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (First World War) in 2017, Canada Army Run added the Vimy Challenge, in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, to our event line-up for this year. Participants in the Vimy Challenge run, walk or roll officially in BOTH the 5K and the 10K events and will receive a unique race shirt and, upon completion, a special coin as well as their dog-tag medals.
2006: The idea for Canada Army Run was sparked in October 2006, at the U.S. Army 10-Miler. When Lieutenant-General Stuart Beare (at the time, the 3rd-highest ranking officer in the Canadian Army) crossed the finish line, he turned to his Director of Army Training, Colonel Dean Milner, and asked: “Why aren’t we doing this in Canada?” The Colonel replied, “Sir, you’re the general. You tell me!”
Col Milner and LGen Beare put together a proposal, pitched it to the Deputy Commander of the Army (LGen Guy Thibault) and, together, they took the idea to the then Commander of the Army, LGen Andrew Leslie, then the Army Council.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Detailed plans were laid down for an event that, in its second year, would become the fastest growing run in the country.
2007: Major Chris Horcezcy (now retired) was appointed in 2007 as the first run director of Canada Army Run and tasked with bringing the idea to fruition.
“Generals had the idea,” said LGen Stuart Beare, who is credited with the idea for Canada Army Run, “but delivering the goods? That was Chris Horeczy.”
Maj Horeczcy laid the foundation for many traditions that continue to this day, including dog-tag finishers’ medals, military equipment displays, a cannon for the starter’s pistol, military bands and the early start for injured and ill soldiers.
Asked this year for his opinion on how the run has evolved: “Brilliant! All of the run directors have done just a brilliant job of building on the foundation and improving the character of the run. Everything about it is great.”
Since 2009, the position of Canada Army Run Director has been held by Major Luc Frenette (2010, 2011), Major Simon Côté (2012, 2013), and Major Gus Garant (current Run Director).
2008: The serving Commander of the Canadian Army approves the overall plans and direction for Canada Army Run each year, and is the official host of the event, welcoming participants during Opening Ceremonies and performing many other duties throughout Canada Army Run weekend. Our first “host” – and a key champion in making Canada Army Run a reality – was Lieutenant General Andrew B. Leslie (2008, 2009).
He was followed by LGen Peter Devlin (2010, 2011, 2012), LGen Marquis Hainse (2013, 2014, 2015), and LGen Paul Wynnyk (the current Commander).
2008: On September 21, 2008, Canada Army Run made Canadian history by shattering records for the largest number of entrants for an inaugural run. Although professional race organizers said 1000 would be a good turnout for a first time-run, more than 7000 came out, exceeding all expectations!
2008: At the inaugural Canada Army Run, 25 ill and injured soldiers and other athletes with disabilities (including four U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq) were given a 15-minute early start to the 5K and half marathon. Their determination and spirit of “soldiering on” cemented the early start as a tradition, and the following year (2009), an official “ill/injured/disabled” category was created.
In 2016, close to 200 were part of the early starts (56 in the half marathon and the rest in the 5K) and it was as moving and inspirational then as it was in 2008.
This September, come out and cheer on these remarkable individuals!
2008: Here’s what the very first Canada Army Run shirts looked like in 2008. The CADPAT (camouflage pattern) – now an integral part of the design – wasn’t added until 2010 and the 5K shirts were changed to red in 2012.
2008: Our very first finishers’ medals closely resembled the dog-tags worn by the U.S. military. It wasn’t until our 5th Anniversary, in 2012, that a new medal was designed to look more like the identification tags worn by members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
2008: The winner of the first-ever Canada Army Run 5K was Private Ryan McKenzie, a 31-year-old Army reservist from Victoria, B.C, with a time of 14:53:09. At the time, he was the “winningest” athlete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Ryan would go on to win the Canada Army Run 5K again in 2009 and 2012.
Here’s what he said back then: “The Army Run was the most unique experience I have had before, during or after a race. I like what it represents and am honoured to be able to participate. Winning is not the goal; representing the Armed Forces to the best of my ability is.”
2008: The female winner of the first-ever 5K Canada Army Run was Lanni Marchant (17.22.4). We did a search to see what she’s up to today and found this incredible site! Check it out at: http://www.lannimarchant.com/.
2008: Although Canada Army Run is first and foremost a “run” more than a “race” – there has always been a competitive element to it. The winner of our first-ever half marathon was Matthew Leduc, from Ajax, Ontario with a time of 1:12:31.1.
2008: At our inaugural run, in 2008, the female half marathon winner was Liz Maguire, from Ottawa, with a time of 1:22:19.5. Liz has participated in every Canada Army Run since, most often in the 5K (placing second in 2010, 2012 and 2016). Thanks for your ongoing support, Liz and we hope to see you again this year!
2008: Running Room has been a major Canada Army Run supporter and sponsor since before Day 1, and a key contributor to our success. Here’s the behind-the-scenes-story of how this household name became involved…
In 2008, Lieutenant-General Stuart Beare (now retired) – who is credited with the idea for Canada Army Run – was on a flight to Wainwright, Alberta, and found himself sitting beside John Stanton Jr, the son of Running Room founder John Stanton.
In General Beare’s words: “I asked John what he thought of the idea of an Army Run in Canada and whether Running Room would be part of it. Within days, I received an e-mail from John Stanton Senior saying ‘We’re in!’ and it wasn’t long after we landed on the cover of Running Room’s magazine. So, before we even had a run, we were on the cover. Unbelievable!”
Thank you, Running Room for all your support over the years. You have truly been a great partner!
More Canada Army Run history coming soon in celebration of our 10th anniversary in 2017!