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Experience Canada’s only Remembrance Day run
Remembrance Day is one of the most important holidays of the year as we honor those who gave their lives so that freedom won is celebrated by all Canadians today.
Many will pay their respects at Royal Canadian Legion branches and Army Navy Air force units across the True North Strong and Free. But for those who would dare to combine a grueling eight-kilometre cross country race with all the traditions and respect that go with a typical Remembrance Day happening, you are left with a truly unique event—the only one of its kind in Canada.
The 34th annual Remembrance Day 8km Run/walk will be held, as always, at Brockton Oval in Stanley Park on Sunday, Nov. 11. The run features a Masters (35 and over) race that starts following a moment of silence at 11:01 a.m. The Open category then takes to the start line at 11:11, embarking on what is a very challenging one loop course in beautiful Stanley Park. Afterward, the sense of brethren and camaraderie from all of the participants is unique—with a discernible difference from any other race throughout the year.
When I think of Remembrance Day I think of the veterans, and racing on this day is a chance to engage in a healthy activity and honor those who died at war. I’ve enjoyed the event so much for the beautiful race course that carries you past streams, up scenic hills, across hectares of leaf strewn grass plains to the finish line. The social aspect is a satisfying experience of personal contact with senior aged runners that rarely participate in the mainstream races. These are some of the greatest personalities and the best of story tellers.
In a recent interview with race director and accomplished runner, Jerry Tighe, he said, “The event was started in 1979 by the Alta Lake Sports Club, (which was) a club of runners, cross country skiers and triathletes.” Tighe, in his 25th year as race director, adds, “Besides starting the Remembrance Day Run, they also started the first cross country ski marathon in Whistler.”
Tighe noted several historical facts of the event, including, “In the mid to late 80’s as some of the originators became more involved in the world of triathlon administration, the event was turned over to the Hershey Harriers Athletic Club, which is a group of runners and triathletes that train in Stanley Park.”
After the moment of silence at 11:01 a.m., a fellow runner trumpets the Last Post near Brockton Oval in Stanley Park. At the same time the 21 Gun Salute echoes across the water from Victory Square on Hastings Street.
Tighe says, “Runners continue to come back on November 11th to honor the fallen and to meet up with friends with like interests.” He continued, “I have not heard of a similar event on that day in Canada.” No matter on which day of the week Remembrance Day falls, the run will be held. There are hot refreshments served afterward, along with draw prizes.
“We have some trophies that are 34 years old that are engraved with the winners of the Masters over age 35 run. In addition there is also a large wooden plaque with the names of the winners of the five year age groups,” Tighe said.
“Participants are of all ages and various talents. This is an event for all plodders, joggers and those who have just discovered the wonders of health and fitness, as well as the fleet of foot.”
Jerry Tighe didn’t say it, but he has shaped the Remembrance Day 8 km Run into one of the most special days on the running calendar.
Registration and more information: www.hersheyharriers.com.