By Richard Rhinehart
Victoria, BC, January 8, 2015 – Endurance athlete and Canadian Air Force member Daniel Bodden rode his bicycle nearly 800 miles last June in World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge from Ottawa to Washington. This February 15-20, he is applying knowledge he gained from his ride as the Assistant Run Director of the second Wounded Warrior Run BC, a 600 km relay run across the Pacific Northwest’s Vancouver Island.
Bodden reports the CanAm’s two-week journey from capital to capital affected him profoundly. “I think about it all the time,” he said. “Witnessing the mental toughness and unselfish nature of everyone there, I realize my problems aren’t so bad.”
Having co-founded the Wounded Warrior Run BC in February 2014, Bodden was experienced in events including injured veterans. But, the CanAm helped him better comprehend the difficulties and challenges faced every day by those who live with disabilities. His participation in the June 2014 ride “only re-doubles my will to help and respect people like I met on CanAm.”
The Wounded Warrior Run BC was created by Bodden and friend Allan Kobayashi, a veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress following two tours in Afghanistan and one in Kosovo. “We decided on Wounded Warriors Canada” as the run’s non-profit beneficiary, he recalls. “It was that simple. We were both tired of hearing about fellow military members coming home and harming themselves or checking-out. That had to stop.”
Held as a relay from Port Hardy and ending in Victoria, each participant in the Warrior Run will run approximately 100 km (60 miles) over six days. “The daily mileage is manageable, but fatigue will be cumulative” said Bodden.
The six member team includes three athletes with disabilities and three able-bodied athletes. Participants include half marathon runner Steve Deschamps, Canadian Forces veteran Channing Knull, Canadian Navy and Afghanistan veteran Lorne Guthro, runner Mary McGregor, Afghanistan veteran Rob Lamothe of the Canadian Army, and volunteer firefighter and Canadian Navy member Sebastien Arsenault. Each of these participants will be pushing their physical limits through their solo runs.
A participant in last year’s inaugural run, Bodden notes the event is held in all types of weather. “If you’re cold, run faster,” he said. During last year’s run, Bodden found himself “running through about a foot of snow in the middle of nowhere with a safety vehicle. You could see all the drivers do a double-take.”
With plans to expand the run to other Canadian provinces in coming years, Bodden said this year’s run includes fundraising and awareness stops along the route. Local and regional community leaders are anticipated to participate.
“We want to expand the conversation on mental health, especially as it relates to professions who serve the public while exposed to disturbing situations,” said Bodden. “We are expecting participation from the 911 community plus others. They have a tough job to do as well, we have much respect.”
The public is invited to cheer on the athletes during their six-day journey and to contribute financially on their behalf to Wounded Warriors Canada. The non-profit Wounded Warriors Canada helps Canadian Forces members who have been wounded or injured in their service. The organization helps find therapeutic programs and solutions for military men and women in need. Their primary focus is on mental health and, particularly, the impact of Post-Traumatic Stress and Operational Stress injuries.