Above image: This may be no ordinary race, and 2020 has certainly been no ordinary year, but it was business as usual when it came to putting on this race during such uncertain times,” Major Lesley Quinlan, Race Director of Canada Army Run, said proudly.
This year the 13th Canada Army Run took place virtually from September 12 to 27. Even though it was held virtually, due to COVID-19, the run received a lot of support from participants.
“To proudly announce that our first-ever virtual event had sold-out was truly amazing, and one of several reasons we can consider it to be a successful event. We were immensely pleased with the peer-to-peer fundraising that exceeded our expectations and the goal. This may be no ordinary race, and 2020 has certainly been no ordinary year, but it was business as usual when it came to putting on this race during such uncertain times,” Major Lesley Quinlan, Race Director of Canada Army Run, said proudly.
With the event being virtual, it enabled them to welcome runners from all around, and that was received with great fanfare. They had runners from bases and support units all across Canada excited to participate.
“Hosting a virtual event allowed for participants across the country and internationally to join our Canada Army Run family, and they appreciated not only the importance of our run but the new format as well,” Quinlan added.
Every race event, virtual or physical, has its ups and downs to navigate, and in this case, their focus was to maintain the uniqueness and authenticity of their physical run and adapt it virtually.
“One of our struggles was shifting our mindset from what we knew and loved to what we could achieve. It is no secret, Canada Army Run is no ordinary race because of the military presence, the essence of joining together in the spirit of camaraderie and community. It’s a chance for the troops to extend the military esprit de corps to Canadians and to thank them for their support. And, it’s an opportunity for Canadians to say thanks to the men and women who serve them in so many ways at home and abroad,” Quinlan explained.
She continued to inform that replicating the physical event in a virtual format would be nearly impossible, so they decided to offer an experience that would have participants not only excited to join but one that would still seem familiar to them, while acknowledging that the virtual event won’t be the exact same.
One of the biggest challenges of hosting the virtual event was its timeline, says Quinlan. There had been a format set in stone to how the race was planned in years prior, but for this year’s 13th edition of Canada Army Run, that format had to be wiped clean.
“If we host another virtual event next year, things should be a little smoother since we would have this year’s virtual event to go off of. We are currently mapping out our strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities from our lived experience of this year in order to improve upon the 2020 event. Don’t get me wrong, this year’s race was not easy and presented some obstacles, but we are still learning and sincerely appreciate the patience, understanding, and feedback that we were given from our awesome participants across Canada,” Quinlan stated.