News: ISAF personnel participate in Canadian army 5K shadow run
Story by Staff Sgt. Richard Andrade
KABUL, Afghanistan – Service members from various allied nations participated in the Canadian army 5K shadow run, Sept. 15, 2013, at the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Kabul.
The race was a government sanctioned fundraising effort to benefit veterans programs including Soldier On, and the Military Families Fund, who raise funds for ill or injured personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Royal Canadian Air Force Brig. Gen. Todd Balfe spoke to the runners prior to the morning race. He serves as the deputy to the deputy chief of staff for communications, Headquarters, International Security Assistance Force.
Balfe thanked the participants for contributing and attending the Canada army 5K run shadow race, many of them not Canadians, letting them know it was for a worthy cause.
“We generated over a thousand dollars from this morning’s run,” said Balfe. “That will help a soldier, sailor, airmen or their family back home in Canada.”
What makes the run special is the fact that as Canada’s military begins to draw down in Afghanistan, like other nations under ISAF, this will be the last Canadian army 5K run in Afghanistan. More than 50 participants took part in the race, some ran for fun, others to remember those who were injured or killed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“I think this is a great cause, running for wounded warriors who were hurt here in Afghanistan,” said Royal Canadian Navy Capt. Pierre Dickinson, chief of staff, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force Shafafiyat, HQ ISAF.
Some ran in small groups, others ran individually around the base. A table was set up outside of the gym with rows of bottled water for the runners.
Balfe said it is an unwritten obligation as uniformed service members to maintain national awareness of our wounded warriors. Balfe has lived in both the U.S. and Canada. He said the citizens of both countries have been very supportive of the military.
“As we wind down our operations in Afghanistan, it’s only natural for attention to drift away from our service members’ sacrifices and contributions. Having these runs and advocating for these [veterans] programs helps us to fulfill our obligation to our wounded warriors,” said Balfe.
The Canadian army run was running shadow runs all across deployed locations at bases with more than 10 Canadian soldiers. Balfe said it is a good way to unite people and gives them a sense of being home.
On a personal note, Balfe said his wife and 11-year-old son took part in the Canadian army Rrun in his native home of Ottawa in the Province of Ontario, Canada.
Balfe said the Canadian army 5K run was a coalition forces event, not just a Canadian event.
“It was an honor to have run together with our allied partners. We are all here for the same reasons and we are all making the same sacrifices,” said Balfe.