Wounded Warrior Run B.C. runner Chris Loran making his way to the Qualicum Beach legion Friday afternoon (Feb. 23). The relay-style run began Monday, Feb. 19 in Port Hardy and will wrap up Sunday, Feb. 25 in Victoria. — Lauren Collins photo

Run for wounded soldiers, first responders stops in Qualicum Beach

Run started Feb. 19 in Port Hardy to conclude in Victoria Sunday, Feb. 25

Cold weather and snow flurries were no match for the Wounded Warriors in Parksville Qualicum Beach Friday (Feb. 23).

Wounded Warriors Run B.C. made stops in Parksville Qualicum Beach Friday afternoon including a stop at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 76 Qualicum Beach.

The Wounded Warrior Run B.C., a non-profit organization, is a relay-style run composed of a group of runners covering the length of Vancouver Island in just seven days.

This year the team included current serving military members, reservists, veterans, first nations members, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and civilians.

The annual event raises funds for Wounded Warriors Canada, which seeks to help military veterans and first responders who have been wounded either physically or mentally, with a focus on post-traumatic stress disorder.

Chris Loran ran the final stretch before arriving at the Qualicum Beach legion to cheers from Wounded Warriors runners and support team members and legion members.

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Channing Knull, the provincial ambassador for Wounded Warriors Canada and part of the Wounded Warriors Run B.C. support team, said the weather conditions were “fantastic.”

“We chose February (for the run), so the ‘suck factor’ would be higher and it makes it more challenging,” Knull said. “When you suffer daily with post-traumatic stress disorder, there are ups and downs and not every day is easy.

“As we put one foot in front of the other coming down the Island, it’s sort of an expression of how days look like with this disorder.”

Loran said the Wounded Warriors Run supports three programs on the Island: Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday (COPE), Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs and the Trauma Resiliency program, which also helps first responders.

Wounded Warriors Run B.C. started last Monday (Feb. 19) in Port Hardy and finished Sunday (Feb. 25) behind the legislature in Victoria.

RELATED: Wounded Warrior Run 2018 leaves Port Hardy

“The communities are threaded together and we’re winding our way down the Island,” said Knull, adding that people from all parts of the Island are showing up at their community stops and “expressing warmth and kindness.”

Qualicum Beach legion first vice-president Ben Villeneuve and Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek both teared up as they spoke to the small crowd at the legion.

Knull said last year the run raised $42,000, and the goal this year is $100,000, which Knull said is what it would cost to run the COPE program for an entire year.

“As of (Friday) morning, we just broke $42,000, so we’re on track to meet that mark,” Knull said.

As of Monday, the run had raised $71,000 of its $100,000-goal.

To donate to the cause, people can visit www.woundedwarriors.com/ways-to-give/wounded-warrior-rub-bc/.

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