Army Run keeps on growing

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/09/16/army-run-keeps-on-growing

Peter Morel isn’t satisfied with completing the Army Run half-marathon in 90 minutes.

Morel reckons he can cover the 21-km in his hand cycle faster than his 2010 time, so on Sunday he’s taking another crack at it.

“Our race bikes can cruise fairly fast, so we can cruise at around the 18 km/h mark,” he said.

He was born with spina bifida, but using a wheelchair hasn’t stopped him from excelling in athletics.

“I was a Paralympic rower and am trying out for the national adaptive shooting team,” he said.

And the Army Run is an event that’s close to Morel’s heart.

“My father was in the Second World War, in the air force. My grandfather was in the army in the First World War,” he said, adding three friends are currently serving in the military.

He isn’t the only one training.

In running circles, it’s said to be the fastest growing event — roughly 16,000 people are registered in the 2011 Army Run.

“Every member of the Canadian Forces takes pride in the growing popularity of this event,” said Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, commander of the Canadian Army.

Appreciate support

“Although the event was created as a way for the military to thank Canadians for their support, it has become clear that Canadians also want to thank the men and women of the Canadian Forces for all they do at home and abroad. And we sincerely appreciate that.”

When the Army Run began in 2008, 7,000 people participated.

Last year, that number doubled to 14,000 and more than $100,000 was raised for the Military Families Fund and the Soldier On program, which trains injured soldiers.

Morel co-owns TopShape Fitness Studio in Westboro, where many of his clients are in the military.

“We’ve had everything from complete amputations from land mines and IEDs to spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, you know, the list goes on and on,” he said.

His goal is to get soldiers moving again.

“We design programs for them and teach them how to exercise properly,” said Morel.

“These are highly motivated people to begin with.”

They’re so motivated, Morel has recruited about 20 others to take part with him in Sunday’s event.

“These guys can do anything they want if they put their minds to it,” he said.

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