by Stephen Dafoe
The annual Loops for the Troops fun run and walk takes place June 3, and featuring a military mile, a five-kilometre fun run and walk, a ten-kilometre road race and a half marathon.
A unique partnership between the family of local fallen soldier Cpl Bryce Keller M.M.V, CFB Edmonton, and the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) lead to the formation of the event a decade ago.
The Edmonton Garrison Military Family Resource Centre is the beneficiary of the proceeds, which are used for local programs and services.
Race coordinator Capt. Sarah Keller (CD, BScN, RN) said she is pleased to see the Loops for the Troops tradition carrying on at ten years.
“This year will be 12 years since the loss of my husband Bryce, but over the past decade we have suffered additional losses as a military community,” Keller said, adding watching the sea of red Loops for the Troops shirts heading out each year on race day is a special feeling. “Many of the fallen ran on those same trails when they served here (including my late husband),” Keller said. “I myself have used resources at the MFRC and can speak to how much that has helped me as a surviving spouse even now, so continuing to support them makes sense to me on a personal and professional level.”
Keller went on to say supporting the MFRC’s programs and services directly support the military community and the unique challenges of military life.
“I truly believe that our families, and our military family, are what allow us as members of the CAF to do the work that we do here at home, and abroad,” Keller said. “Edmonton Loops for the Troops has really become a way to get involved in our community, as Canadians supporting Canadian Armed Forces personnel, and their families. I believe that seeing this continued support and watching this event reach the milestone 10-year mark reinforces that sense of community; as members of the CAF we continue to be here serving our fellow Canadians, and they, in turn, are here for us.”
The annual event is dedicated to all Canadian soldiers, their families, and to those soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the country, both at home and abroad.
Keller and fellow organizers are grateful for the support Loops for the Troops have received over the past decade, and they are hoping to see more of the same this year.
“As we celebrate this anniversary, I know that there are people who will be coming out for their 10th race with us, and I can’t thank them enough for their continued support,” Keller said, adding some people will be there for their 5th race or even their 1st race.
“We have participants and volunteers who come back on Canadian Forces Day year after year to take part our event and enjoy the pancake breakfast, which tells me that Edmonton Loops for the Troops has become a tradition that holds a special place in the hearts of many people,” Keller said. “It really is a fun day, from the warm-up at the starting gate, through the trails for the loops, to the pancake breakfast at the finish line.”
Keller thinks the event is an excellent opportunity for runners to enjoy a 10km Loop for the 10th Anniversary of Edmonton Loops for the Troops.
Regardless of the length of the walk or the run, Keller and her fellow organizers see the event as a great way to get outdoors, get active in the community, and support the MFRC in their role of supporting the Troops.
“Our event is near and dear to my heart as a military member and a military family, so I admit I am slightly biased, but we really do have participants that tell us how much fun they’ve had and that they will be back (and they come back!),” Keller said. “I never imagined I would be a part of something like this, so to see it reach the 10-year mark is quite special.”
The event takes place Sunday, June 3 at 8:30 a.m. at the Edmonton Garrison Lecture Training Facility, Building 185.
Cost of the Military Mile Walk is $15. Cost of the 5-km and 10-km events are $40, and cost of the half marathon is $65. Prices go up after May 30. Race registration includes a tech shirt, brunch ticket and special anniversary commemorative coin.
Those interested in registering for the event can visit https://www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=14938 or contact the MFRC at 780-973-4011 ext. 6300.
Other information can be found at www.facebook.com/EdmontonLoopsforthetroops.