The Wounded Warrior team completed the fourth leg of its journey Thursday, first received at the Oyster River Fire Department and later by supporters at 888 Wing in Comox.
Over the course of seven days, a team of six core members and a support crew ran the length of Vancouver Island, beginning last Monday in Port Hardy and finishing Sunday in Victoria. They averaged 20-plus kilometres a day.
A motto of the relay-style event is to overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues one step at a time.
“It’s helping one another,” Alan Kobayashi, a co-founder of the Wounded Warrior Run B.C., said at a reception at 888 Wing. “Right here, you are helping me overcome my fears.”
Kobayashi suffers from PTSD, which he says is not limited to military personnel. It can affect anyone who witnesses a traumatic event.
“Our primary mission is to connect with people, to raise awareness, to let people know it’s bad to isolate yourself,” said
Public relations officer Jeff Kibble, who ran about 15 kms/day alongside a core runner. He expected Friday to be one of the healthier challenges — about 120 kms between the Valley and Nanaimo.
“There’s a bit of trepidation for the Malahat,” he said.
The Victoria-based runners are mostly veterans or serving members of the military who have been posted around Canada.
Team member Bernice Smith is a First Nations runner who first heard about the event two years ago.
“We have First Nations veterans in our communities, and raising awareness for PTSD, it really caught me,” the Brentwood Bay resident said.
This is Smith’s first year as a team member but the third time she has participated in the event. The first two years she was an independent supporter.
“It’s a real learning (experience),” she said. “Being with the group, and such an organized team, it’s pretty amazing. And to visit the Legions and hearing the stories, that is emotional.”
Kibble said the reception along the way has been tremendous.
“People are incredibly generous and do contribute to the run,” he said, noting the Old House Hotel in Courtenay contributed free rooms.
The Comox stop featured several presentations, including 888 Wing’s cheque for $500. The “hat” was then passed around and another $1,100 was raised for their cause.
For more information, visit woundedwarriorrunbc.com