Everyone has a reason to run the Tely 10.
In Sunday’s 83rd running of the historic race there will be those trying to break a record time, and those just competing against themselves. Some will run in memory of a loved one, while countless more will use it as a milestone on their path to a healthier future.
So when you see a trio of guys in fatigues and army boots, wearing 55-pound rucksacks following the race field Sunday morning, be assured they have a good reason, too.
Royal Newfoundland Regiment Sgts. John Sloan, 47, and John Carew, 46, and Officer Cadet Harry Little, all of whom served — operating outside the wire — in Afghanistan, are participating as a show of support for their Canadian Forces brothers and sisters still stationed there.
“We have so many friends who are still overseas, some from the regiment and some from our regular forces regiment,” says Sloan, who served in Afghanistan in 2007 and now works alongside Carew as a correctional officer at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary.
“We want to say thanks to the boys and girls still over there doing a tough job.”
The group is also running to raise awareness about the Forces' Soldier On program. Now in its fourth year, Soldier On and the accompanying fund helps ill and injured Forces members and their families live active lives by subsidizing their expenses.
“We want the public to remember the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice, but also the guys who got hurt, either physically, psychologically or emotionally.” - Sgt. John Sloan
“It fills in the gaps between government programs and pensions,” explains Sloan, who was injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack while working in conjunction with local governments and security forces during his tour of Afghanistan.
“I’ve got past my injuries and tried to move on. I’m physically fine — some say I’m not mentally fine, though,” jokes Sloan, a 23-year service member.
Carew, who completed his tour in April, came home physically unscathed. But during his time in a Taliban stronghold — attached to a group of American soldiers — combat was a regular occurrence. So was injury and death.
“Ninety-five per cent of our time outside the wire was spent trying to help governance. But every time we’d leave we were shot at, mortared, or RPG’ed, and we’d have to engage the enemy and go back, and that was it for the mission. Pretty well every day,” recounts Carew, who saw 18 of his American brethren fall in combat.
(RPGs are rocket propelled grenades.)
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