As Channing Knull came down the hill towards his Wounded Warrior Run BC support team at the north-end Shell station, there were no visible scars.
But they are there, he says. And it’s only because of the support of Wounded Warriors that the retired military man can do what he is doing.
Knull, along with Lorne Guthro, Mary McGregor, Steve Deschamps, Rob Lamothe and Sebastien Arsenault, are running the length of Vancouver Island this week, raising funds for Wounded Warriors Canada. The goal of WWC is to help find therapeutic programs and solutions for military men and women in need.
The non-profit organization’s primary focus is on mental health and, in particular, the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder and operational stress injuries.
Knull has first-hand experience with the effects of PTSD.
“I have been suffering from post traumatic stress since about 1998 and I left the Forces on a medical release in 2000,” said Knull, barely short of breath after his leg of the day’s run from Campbell River to Comox. “Wounded Warriors Canada has been very instrumental in my life. I can truly say I have come from the darkest of places and now, believe it or not, have turned this personal growth into a positive. I wouldn’t have believed that three years ago, to say that there could be anything positive to come from post traumatic stress disorder.”
He said getting involved in the Wounded Warrior Run BC was an easy decision for him. He, Allan Kobayashi and Dan Bodden were training for a triathlon in 2014 when the idea came to them.
“We had been hearing about a large number of veterans and EMS (emergency medical services) workers taking their own lives and we said ‘what are we going to do about this?’” said Knull. “Being that we were all athletes, we thought we could use our athleticism to raise awareness, to lower the stigmatism and to take action. So that’s how the whole run came about. I was a director for last year’s (inaugural) run and watching my friends do it got me very inspired. I knew right then that I wanted to be ready to go for this year. So here I am. Honoured and thrilled to be doing this.”
Wounded Warrior Run BC 2015 passed through Courtenay and Comox on Tuesday, the third day of the six-day run that started in Port Hardy and ends in Victoria on Friday.
To donate to the run, go to canadahelps.org/dn/15855 and select ‘Wounded Warrior Run BC’ from the drop down menu. A donation of $20 or more will automatically enter your name into a raffle for one of two Cervelo S2 bikes donated by Wounded Warriors Canada.
The draw will be made in Victoria on Feb. 20. For more updates on the run, go to woundedwarriorrunbc.com
-with files from Wounded Warrior Run BC