An event that showcases some of the highest standards of fitness the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has to offer, the 34th edition of the annual Ironman competition took place over the course of two days on Sept. 7-8.
“Fitness is a big part of what we do and maintaining that physical and mental fitness is key to operational effectiveness for us. Whatever we can do to bring in fun rivalry and camaraderie amongst ourselves, we look for opportunities to do that,” said Lt. Karyn Mazurek, Public Affairs Officer, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Petawawa.
A point of pride for 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG), Ironman is a 50 km race broken down into a series of legs.
Starting at the crack of dawn, the race includes a 32 km march while wearing a 40 lb rucksack, a 4 km canoe portage, an 8 km paddle down the Ottawa River and then a 6 km up hill march to finish off the race.
The race takes anywhere from six to twelve hours to complete.
For competitors, this arduous challenge is about competing against the elements, competing against each other and competing against themselves as their mental fortitude is tested.
“This event has a very rich history here obviously. We’re in the 34th year of running this, and every member looks forward to it, those who are actively interested in the competitive part or those who want to just try it for the first time.
“It kind of offers a great gauge for your own personal fitness and fortitude, as well as, saying you completed Ironman is a bit of a thing people love to say out here. Whether you're a member of the community, or a member of the base, or brigade, there’s a lot of pride that goes into it. So, we’re very excited every year to put this on,” commented Mazurek.
The competition is broken into two days. Day one, titled the “completer day,” is designated for all those who wish to take part in the race but are not within 2 CMBG.
Then, day two, “competition day,” is for soldiers from the different units within 2 CMBG.
This year’s top spots for male competitors went to MCpl. Shane Stewart, Sgt. Mario Larocque, and Sgt. Donnie Simpson.
The top three female competitors this year were MWO Nicole Barrett, Capt. Melissa Bott, and Maj. Jacynthe Smith.
This year's top team was the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment.
The Ironman Competition also has a charitable component to it by raising funds for various charities every year. This year all funds collected by participating soldiers will go towards Renfrew County United Way.