A staple Vancouver Island charity event is back for its 10th year.
The Wounded Warrior Run B.C. is an annual event where first responders and armed forces members run the length of the Island to raise money for Wounded Warriors Canada. The national charity raises money to support veterans and frontline workers suffering from PTSD.
“It’s been absolutely incredible to see it evolve. It started literally with four guys who wanted to step up and do something to make a difference in our community,” says Wounded Warrior Run B.C. director Jacqueline Zweng.
“It’s evolved into this major event that is becoming really well recognized, but also something that people can really connect to.”
The warm-up run from Sooke to Sidney provides an opportunity for the runners and support staff to prepare for the 600-kilometre trek at the end of February, while also visiting communities that are not on the main route.
“We decided to add this event in advance of the main event, which is Feb. 26 to Mar. 5, because we felt like we needed to add more communities and there’s just more people who wanted to get involved,” says Zweng.
Some participants on Sunday said it was a good way to get a feel for what the full run will be like later in the month.
“It’s good to see, kind of get a taste of how things are going to go over the eight days,” says first-time runner Nathalie Butler.
“I’ve been telling everyone all day that I’m super nervous, I know I can do it, but it’s definitely something that I’ve never experienced before so it’s good to get a little practice run in before.”
For Butler, who is a serving member in the armed forces, the run is a chance to give back to her family and friends.
“My dad’s also in the navy, coming up on 42 years, so this is a cause that’s super close to me and especially being a new member myself,” says Butler.
“I’ve started to get a little bit of sense of how much PTSD and operational stress really does affect people.”
The Wounded Warrior Run B.C. starts in Port Hardy Feb. 26. For more information, visit the Wounded Warrior Run B.C. website.