Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Mogadishu Mile 5km

In late September I was browsing some of the articles on ITS Tactical. One of the posts in particular caught my eye, the Mogadishu Mile. Of course I was familiar with the reference after reading Mark Bowden's book and seeing the film Black Hawk Down. What really surprised me was that this year was the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu. I remember vividly a photograph in the Toronto Star portraying a dead and bloated American soldier being dragged through the streets. I was horrified to say the least. That was a lot for a pre-teen to handle. What I didn't know at the time was that there were Rangers only six years older than me that had fought in that battle.



So the opportunity to participate in an event that would help raise money for the special operations community and to commemorate the battle definitely peaked my interest. With only a few weeks before the race, I contacted as many people as I could that I thought would be interested and put together a team to run it virtually. I planned the route and wanted to see how many Canadian war monuments we could fit into a 5km run. It just so happened that a chronological tour through the city in terms of military monuments was in the cards.

Start location: The Queen's York Rangers Museum, 660 Fleet Street. Depart at 9:00.
1st Stop: Victoria Memorial Park. The park is home to a monument to the War of 1812 and served as a military cemetery for Toronto and 400 burials. 2nd Stop: Old City Hall Cenotaph. Built after WWI to commemorate Torontonians who lost their lives in services for Canada. The memorial also commemorates those who died in WWII and the Korean War.
Final Stop: Ontario Veterans Memorial. A 30 metre granite wall that depicts scenes of the Canadian military's role in times of peace and war since 1867 to the "Campaign Against Terror".


Victoria Memorial Park
On the way to Old City Hall
I am not much of a runner, but that only makes it more challenging. And I always like a good challenge. I wanted to make this as hard as I could, so I contacted a friend of mine who is a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment for some advice. He said that on top of my 50lbs. ruck, I should also not eat before the event. Moreover, during the run I should think about The Death March. The 6th Ranger Rangers were not part of the march, but they were part of the great raid to rescue the prisoners.

Dashing across University

Ontario Veterans Memorial
The event was more of a team event than it was a race. We started together and we finished together. At the same time though we pushed each other to finish as quickly as we could. My marathon running wife made sure that we didn't slack, and definitely humbled me in my skills as a runner. As we traversed the city I tried my best to let the other runners know the importance and the history behind each checkpoint. I had to do a bit of research before the race, and I have the event itself to thank for prompting me to learn something new about the city's history and the sacrifices Canadians as well as Americans have made for their country.

We had five people run in Toronto this year. Hopefully next we we can make it bigger!

1 comment:

  1. Great idea to do a virtual race for this... I'm borrowing that for next year. Great pictures too, looks like you all had quite the time.

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