Back from Afghanistan, three soldiers will do the Tely 10 in full gear
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.
Sgt. John Sloan, Officer Cadet Harry Little, and Sgt. John Carew of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment will be among the hundreds of people running in Sunday’s 83rd Tely 10 road race. But, unlike their fellow racers, the trio will be jogging and walking in full fatigues, boots and rucksacks to raise awareness about the Soldier On Fund, which helps ill and injured Forces members and their families live active lives by subsidizing their expenses. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
But for every brother in arms lost, the 30-year veteran insists there are “10 guys who have lost legs and arms or have some psychological issues.”
“You don’t usually hear about the guys who were wounded, and the physical and mental scars that are left from the theatre,” Carew says.
“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,” adds Sloan.
The sergeants and Little plan on raising funds in time for a September visit from Master Cpl. Jody Mitic, an elite sniper who lost both legs after stepping on a landmine in 2007 but went on to complete a half-marathon on prosthetic legs after months of rehabilitation. He has since championed the Soldier On cause.
Ready to pound the pavement
Each year, the men must to qualify in the Forces’ Battle Fitness Test (BFT), part of which includes a roughly 13.5-kilometre hike with full kit.
“Every guy in the combat arms has to qualify, just to confirm you’re still physically able to carry out a very physical task that you may, in fact, have to,” says Sloan, who has competed in 10 Tely 10s, clocking his best finish at 73 minutes.
“But the rucksacks we're carrying Sunday are nothing compared to what you’d carry in a real theatre of operation,” says Carew.
The 100-plus pound behemoths contain a soldier’s clothing, food, water, ammunition and body armour among other essentials.
“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
But Carew points out that, “the army usually never runs this stuff.”
“Everything we do is a walk and you only go as fast as your slowest man.”
To spare themselves some masochism, the trio plan on “jogging” about 30 per cent of the course while marching the rest.
“We’re not wearing boots that are meant to be run in carrying all that weight on our back,” says Carew, “Unlike most runners, we’ll end up with a lot of blisters.”
Sore feet or not, they are eager to pound the pavement in the name of the Canadian Forces, something they recognize as an organization that can be contentious.
“Regardless of whether people agree with what what we’re doing over there, the soldiers are there and they’re dying and getting injured. Right or wrong it’s what we’re told to do,” says Carew.
“I think Canadians are becoming more aware of the threat level over there and what the Canadian soldiers are giving in service to their country. That’s why we want to bring it up, raise awareness.”
To donate to the Soldier On Fund, visit: http://www.cfpsa.com/en/corporate/SoldierOn/donate_e.asp