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B.C.'s Wounded Warrior Run kicks off in Port Hardy

The eight-day B.C. Wounded Warrior Run, in its 11th year, raises funds for military veterans and first responders who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder and operational stress injuries.

The sun was barely out when Sgt. Rob Brennan set out on the first stage of the 800-kilometre Wounded Warrior relay run from Port Hardy to Victoria on Sunday. 

The Comox Valley RCMP officer ran the first leg from Carrot Bay Park in Port Hardy toward Port McNeill, handing off at the 17-kilometre mark to Chris Stanger, a volunteer firefighter for Qualicum Beach Fire Rescue and Courtenay Volunteer Fire Department. 

It was the first day of the eight-day B.C. Wounded Warrior Run, now in its 11th year, which raises funds for military veterans and first responders who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder and operational stress injuries. 

Runners, who are accompanied by a support team that includes paramedics, made it to Woss on Sunday, were expected to be in Sayward by Monday and to arrive at the finish line at Market Square in Victoria this Sunday afternoon, a week after the run started. 

The Port Hardy Royal Canadian Legion kicked off the run on Saturday night by giving the team a $2,000 donation. 

Zweng said she was also touched by the community of Port McNeill, which raised over $10,000 on Sunday, an amount “equal to $5 per person in their community.” 

Just over half the runners on the seven-member team for this year are police officers, including three from the Victoria Police Department. 

Brennen said while policing can be an extremely rewarding career, the job comes with regular exposure to trauma and horrific scenes. 

“Over the course of my career I’ve seen a lot of members, including myself, suffer from the mental toll that policing takes on one’s mind,” he said in a video before the start of the run. 

Event director Jacqueline Zweng said being involved in the run is a highlight of her year. “We need to talk about mental health. We need to help those people that protect our communities every day.” 

mjlo@timescolonist.com 

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