There’s something patriotic in the solidarity of the Canada Army Run. Maybe it’s the fact that our soldiers are doing a shadow run alongside of us somewhere in a land so war-torn and seemingly far away. Maybe it’s that some of those soldiers are here, running alongside of us. Maybe it’s that some of those soldiers are giving us the runners our medals — as if our efforts today compare at all to the often anonymous acts of heroism they perform just by their very choice of profession. Whatever it is, it’s inspirational.
That detour to the side of the road? It’s to accomodate the soldier who is wheeling himself up the hill. And we thought we were struggling.
That man just up ahead? Ya that’s right, he may have lost a leg but he hasn’t lost his fighting spirit.
And those crowds? Ya that’s right they’re some of the finest you’ll see. They not only cheer for you by name but they pass out freezies.
The experience is an honour to have and humbling at the same time. I will always remember the charge at the end. Another runner just ahead of me confirming with someone in the crowd that we were only 300 metres away from the finish. He takes off. And in my head I say “I’m coming with you”. I’m flying as hard as I can.
In my mind’s eye the army fatigues inspired jersey I sport transforms me for one moment in time into a soldier charging to head off the enemy’s assault. In the end I would find out that I missed my personal best by 6 seconds. A difference of less than 0.29 seconds per kilometre separating me from a personal record. Disappointing. But more than made up for when a soldier pulls me aside, hangs a medal around my neck, looks me in the eye, and says to me “Good job”.