Lindsay Chung (4302) runs the half marathon at the Canada Army Run as part of her Commander’s Challenge race Sept. 23 in Ottawa. The Commander’s Challenge is a 5K followed by a half marathon, and this year, Chung ran as a member of the Frontline Race Team. ZoomPhoto.ca photo

Being selected for Frontline Race Team ‘changed everything’ for Quesnel runner

As a Canada Army Run ambassador, Lindsay Chung gained confidence and began to really love running

I’ve taken part in the Canada Army Run in Ottawa, a military-themed run that attracts tens of thousands of participants, for three years in a row now but this year was, by far, the best ever.

This year, I was selected to be an ambassador for the Army Run, and it has been the most incredible experience. I filled out an application last October after coming home from my second Army Run. I was so surprised and excited when I found out I was one of 25 members of the Frontline Race Team. I am the only team member from B.C., and I’ve joined runners from Nebraska, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. This is the first year the Army Run has had an ambassador team, and our goals were to help promote and encourage people to go to Ottawa for Canada Army Run, help share the message of Support Our Troops and encourage fundraising and share our training journey through social media. We also got to test-drive new merchandise and gear from Army Run sponsors, and wear Canada Army Run gear at other events to help spread awareness about the run.

It’s no exaggeration to say being selected for the Frontline Race Team changed everything, in the very best way. I’ve only been running somewhat seriously for a couple of years, and it still falls off my to-do list when my work schedule gets crazy, but even just filling out the application form for the Frontline team and talking about why I run, how I started and my goals for the coming year made me start taking the sport more seriously. Because somebody believed in me and felt I belonged on this team with so many inspiring runners of all levels, I started to believe in myself as a runner. I also started to take training more seriously because now I had a job to motivate and inspire others through my running. My teammates and I communicated a lot online throughout the year, and it was so inspiring to watch them train and race. It felt like I was a part of this wonderful family, and I am so grateful that I had this experience.

In the months leading up to Canada Army Run, I unfortunately did not get to race much, as my work schedule did not fit with many races, but I proudly wore my Canada Army Run Frontline shirt wherever and whenever I could, as I ran on my own and trained with the Reason 2 Run running groups. I have loved everything about Canada Army Run since the first time I ran it in 2016, so it was easy for me to share that love on social media any chance I got. This run is extremely well-organized, and it is an amazing experience to run through our nation’s capital and show support for our troops along with thousands of other people from across the country and from other countries. Ill and injured veterans and soldiers take part in each race, and it is always so inspiring to see them on the course. This run raises money for Solider On and the Support Our Troops fund, official funds of the Canadian Armed Forces that help ill and injured soldiers and military families in need, and for the past two years, the Army Run has featured Remembrance Row, where posters depicting photos and names of men and women who died serving our country line the route. Running past those signs is emotional and thought-provoking, and I’m so glad those veterans’ sacrifices are recognized.

This year’s Canada Army Run took place Sept. 23 in Ottawa. Even though running is a solo sport (and that’s one of the things I really like about it), this year’s race felt extra special because I was part of the Frontline Race Team and I had many other friends who were running as well. Our Frontline team met for a quick team photo that morning before the 5K started, and then we headed off in different directions.

There are several options on race day, including a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and two challenge events – the Ortona Challenge, which is the 5K plus the 10K, and the Commander’s Challenge, which is the 5K plus the half marathon. I did the Commander’s Challenge for the second year in a row. I had trained more this year but felt I wasn’t consistent enough, so my main goal was just to improve on last year’s half marathon time of 2:36. I ended up finishing the 5K in 28:15 and the half marathon in 2:01:31, for a combined time of 2:29:46. That is 36 minutes faster than last year’s Commander’s Challenge. I was better trained, and the weather was cooler this year, but I’m sure the main reason I did so much better is because I was on the Frontline Race Team.

I think being selected for the team completely changed how I see myself and see myself as a runner and really made me believe in myself more. I’ve gone from liking running to loving running and from feeling like I don’t really belong at a race to feeling like it might actually be safe to start calling myself a runner. After this experience, I am motivated to run more and train smarter so I can run more races and see what times I can achieve. I am so grateful for Canada Army Run for believing in me and deciding I would be a good representative, and I’m so thankful to my Frontline Race Team teammates who were so inspiring and motivating and to my Quesnel running friends I’ve met through the Reason 2 Run clinics and clubs, who are always so supportive. The running community is such a great one, and I’m so lucky to be part of two particularly amazing ones.

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