• ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA01-2020-0197-010.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by MCpl Jennifer Evans)

    Soldier sprays life jacket with disinfectant
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-015.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    View of a road with five soliders marching in the rain
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-021.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Two soliders help pull canoe towards shore with particpant in canoe
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-026.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Particpant crosses the finish line
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-028.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Particpant crosses the finish line
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-030.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Particpant crosses the finish line
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-036.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Particpant gives the thumbs up to the camera
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-040.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Two canoes in the water
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-053.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Close up shot of participant crosses the finish line
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA03-2020-0197-062.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Two participants portaging with canoes on their shoulders
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA05-2020-0197-010.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Private Aimee Rintjema)

    Participants prepare to set off in canoes, others assist
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA05-2020-0197-012.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Pte Morley)

    Two people assist participant in balancing canoe on his shoulders
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PA05-2020-0197-037.jpg

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Pte Morley)

    Participant with canoe on shoulders
  • ../../../images/Article_pics/september2020/17september/iron-warrior-2020/images/PH02-2020-0024-15.JPG

    Participants of the 2020 annual 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Iron Warrior competition, September 1st, 2020 at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. (Photo by Pte Morley)

    Wide shot looking down the road with a participant running, with cars in the background


 

 


IRON WARRIOR 2020 a success despite COVID-19 restrictions

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday September 17, 2020


For the full list of results, click here.

Instead of postponing this year’s 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) IRON WARRIOR, it was altered to minimize the risk of COVID-19 for participants.

The decision to continue with the event was made very early in the spring with the understanding that organizers would continuously assess the risk and be prepared to cancel the event up to the last minute. Until the racers hit the course, organizers used the most up to date information on COVID-19 and medical advice to ensure that risk was mitigated.

“Going ahead with IRON WARRIOR was about giving soldiers an individual physical and mental challenge to work towards, and train for, during a very uncertain time,” said lead planner Major (Maj) Garret Book of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER). “It was a reason to keep active and motivated.”

It also forced organizers to work through how to continue to operate safely in a COVID-19 environment.
Groups of competitors were scheduled to start in 30-minute intervals and about 30 seconds from each other. The 166 participants were split over two days and were on the course by 5 a.m.

With precautions in place, the event moved forward on Sept. 1 and 2 with only local racers, with priority given to 2 CMBG personnel. The course itself was also shortened and altered, and the finish line had to remain empty with no greeters and wellwishers allowed.

Participants also needed to keep a four metre distance when behind someone and two metres when alongside someone. Hydration points were disinfected between competitors.

“The risk in this region remains low, but we have taken every precaution on the Forces Health Protection Measures (FHPM) side and have learned many lessons that will help us now continue to train for operations in a safe manner,” said Maj Book.

The finely tuned athletes had to traverse 38 km: ruck marching 26 km, portaging two km, canoeing eight km and running two km straight up Jubilee Hill to the finish line. Rucksack weight was reduced from 40 lbs to 30 lbs, and running shoes were allowed for the first time.

Some of these changes may become permanent as they were instituted on the recommendations of health service supporters, senior Officers and Sergeants Majors. 

These changes aimed to create a more inclusive race and may see increased participation in the event across the brigade next year.

“We definitely don’t see these changes as the 100 per cent solution,” said Maj Book. “We have encouraged all supporters, participants and units to provide their feedback on the race to help the brigade plan and set the stage for the future of Iron Warrior.

“This year was really an excellent year to trial these changes,” he added. “We already had to make so many changes to the race to make it safe in a COVID-19 environment that it was the right time to trial new ideas.”

Hosting the race with precautions in place was met with overwhelming positivity. Some were unhappy about not being able to greet participants at the finish line, and racers from outside the area were disappointed at being unable to join, but it was understood that it was all necessary.

“The one thing that seems to be universal is the openness to some change to make this the best event for 2 CMBG it can be,” said Maj Book.

Keeping the race on track was important for several reasons.

“Soldiers are mission-focused and goal-oriented,” said the lead planner. “By providing ourselves with the opportunity to challenge our mental resiliency and physical robustness on an event like this, everyone is motivated to train and achieve a higher level of fitness.”

Holding IRON WARRIOR also encourages people to engage Personnel Support Programs (PSP) to develop training plans and accomplish something more difficult than they have ever done. They all come together to promote the culture of readiness within the brigade while at the same time, participants have a sense of accomplishment and confidence, and the knowledge they can achieve anything they put their minds to.

“It is impossible to watch the event without being motivated by the extreme dedication of the competitors,” said Maj Book. “It is just as impressive to watch someone who pushed themselves and came across the line at the end of the day as it is to see the ultra-marathoner who wins.”

On day one, the times for the Top Male were Corporal David Black, with 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR) with a time of 4:19:28.0 and Captain Derek Milner, with 3 RCR, at 4:23:59.1. The Top Female times were Corporal Katherine Smith, with Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) at 5:33:12.9 and Corporal Bethany Savage, with 2 Field Ambulance (2 Fd Amb), with 5:44:48.6.

During the second day, the Top Male was Warrant Officer Mario Laroque, with 3 RCR, with a time of 4:19:11.4 followed by Private Benjamin Froese of 3 RCR at 4:59:59.3. The times for the Top Females on the second day were Master Corporal Katelyn Brennan, 3 RCR, with 6:34:32.2 and Lieutenant Colonel Melanie Lake, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER), with 6:47:27.1.

The Top Male Master is Jesse Knockleby, with Canadian Forces Real Property Operations Group with 4:23:53.7 and the Top Female Master was Major Kim Van Muyen, with 2 Service Battalion (2 Svc Bn), with a time of 5:48:18.4.

For the Top Major Units, 3 RCR came in first place, the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) came in second while 2 CER came in third. The Top Minor Unit winners were 2 Fd Amb in the first place, Canadian Special Operations Training Centre (CSOTC) in second place, and the third-place winner was 2 CMBG Headquarters and Signal Squadron (2 CMBG HQ & Sig Sqn).