Wounded Warriors run cancelled for 2021

Wounded Warrior runner Mike Bowen, with the Canadian Coast Guard, runs the Hump—the Alberni Summit—on Highway 4 on the way to Port Alberni on Feb. 27, 2020. (JOHN W. PENNER/ John’s Photography)Wounded Warrior runner Mike Bowen, with the Canadian Coast Guard, runs the Hump—the Alberni Summit—on Highway 4 on the way to Port Alberni on Feb. 27, 2020. (JOHN W. PENNER/ John’s Photography)
Wounded Warriors runner Marissa Morison, second from left, representing EMS BC Ambulance, flies the Wounded Warriors Canada flag prior to her one-day practice run in Sooke on Feb. 7, 2021 (PHOT COURTESY JOHN PENNER, JOHN’S PHOTOGRAPHY)Wounded Warriors runner Marissa Morison, second from left, representing EMS BC Ambulance, flies the Wounded Warriors Canada flag prior to her one-day practice run in Sooke on Feb. 7, 2021 (PHOT COURTESY JOHN PENNER, JOHN’S PHOTOGRAPHY)

The Wounded Warrior Run on Vancouver Island has officially been cancelled for 2021.

“With the latest provincial health orders we have made the tough decision to cancel the 2021 Wounded Warrior Run BC originally scheduled for February and postponed to April 11-18,” team media coordinator Chris Loran said.

British Columbia’s public health officer earlier this week announced more restrictions due to a COVID-19 spike in the province. Restrictions run until April 19.

READ: Two Port Alberni first responders join Wounded Warriors run

“We wish to thank our sponsors and the countless individuals who stood with us and donated to our efforts. Together we managed to raise close to $80,000 with donations still coming in, despite not being able to physically be together.”

The Wounded Warrior Run BC was created to bring awareness and raise funds for Wounded Warriors Canada. The 2021 team of eight runners will be back in 2022 to run relay-style the length of Vancouver Island in just eight consecutive days, covering more than 600 kilometres.

“The entire team is coming back for next year,” Loran said. “That was hard for the runners to train and make the effort and not have the run done; we told them they’re all coming back for next year.”

RELATED: Wounded Warriors reschedule run to April

Runners representing first responders from a number of communities across Vancouver Island have been training for months for the run. They held solo runs in their respective communities on Feb. 7, the day they would have traditionally kicked off the lead-up to the event with a run between Sooke and Sidney in southern Vancouver Island.

The race was to start in Port Hardy and wrap up in Victoria, with B.C. medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry running some of the last leg and then speaking at the finish line.

Zweng said the team will continue raising awareness and funds for the programs and services Wounded Warriors Canada offers for active and retired members of the military and first responders. While the run has been cancelled, “we don’t have the option to cancel or shut down…mental health issues or PTSD.”

Many of the Wounded Warriors programs switched to online delivery when the pandemic hit last year. Although the BC run isn’t even at the halfway point of what it raised last year, Zweng said they are doing what they can to continue offering programs. “The more we raise, the more people we can help out. Our goal was $250,000 this year.”

Port Alberni runners Maria Marciano and Dave Nesbitt have a 24-km run planned for April 17 that will take them past every firehall, the RCMP station, ambulance station and Royal Canadian Legion in the Alberni Valley. First responders will be in front of their stations to acknowledge the runners, who are hoping to add to their fundraising totals with their community run.

There is also a national Ride for Mental Health cycling event that Wounded Warriors Canada will host Aug. 21. Participants are invited to register for 40 kms, 80 kms, 120 kms or 160 kms, and there are fundraising incentives. “It’s another opportunity for fundraising and to be involved with the charity,” Zweng said.

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