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 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 2018 with 2500 spots available.
September 2017 marked the tenth annual Canada Army Run. To celebrate this milestone, a new 10K event was added to the line-up for 2017, in partnership with Canada 150. The 10K returns for 2018, in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada.
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), Canada Army Run added the Vimy Challenge, in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, to the event line-up in 2017. Participants in the Vimy Challenge ran, walked or rolled officially in BOTH the 5K and the 10K events and received a unique race shirt and, upon completion, a special coin as well as their dog-tag medals. For 2018, the 5K plus 10K Challenge returns as the Ortona Challenge, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Ortona, part of the Second World War Italian Campaign.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Ortona (Second World War), Canada Army Run added the Ortona Challenge, in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, to the event line-up in 2018. Participants in the Ortona Challenge participated officially in both the 5K and the 10K events and received a unique race shirt and, upon completion, a special coin as well as their individual dog-tag medals, one for each of the two distances. For 2019, the 5K plus 10K Challenge returns as the Normandy Challenge, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy, part of the D-Day campaign of the Second World War.
2018 saw the departure of Major Gus Garant as Race Director. In June 2018, Maj Garant, the longest-serving Canada Army Run Race Director, handed the reigns over to Maj Dave Tischhauser. Welcome to the team, Major T!
Introduced in 2017 to mark our tenth anniversary, Canada Army Run’s 10K event was back in 2018, presented by Accora Village. Fans of the 10K, rest assured; this popular event is here to stay!