Garrison Petawawa athletes shine at National competitions

Military News

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, August 4, 2016


Several Garrison Petawawa athletes have returned home from both the national running and triathlon competitions.

They were sent to the Capital Region in May and July to compete through the Personnel Support Programs (PSP) Spring and Summer Regional and National Sports program.

Rebecca Olstad, GarMilitary Sports Coordinator, is very proud of every one of the participants, particularly considering the challenge soldier athletes face in these individual sports.

“It is all on them,” she said. “It all reflects on how they prepared... It’s not like they had a team backing them up. You can’t have a bad game. You have one shot and one shot only. It is intense.”

Only the cream of the crop compete at this level, and they must meet a number of criteria before being able to represent the Garrison.

According to Olstad, each region is given about 20 spots depending on the type of race. If they meet the qualifications, their names are submitted. When chosen, they go on to compete, but only if they are available. The actual number of competitors per base can vary as many soldiers are busy with taskings, deployments and exercises.

A handful of athletes made the cut this year, said Olstad.

The May 27-29 National Running Competition in Ottawa was hot, with temperatures deemed almost too warm for the event. But organizers decided to hold the competition and the Petawawa runners distinguished themselves despite the heat.

A total of 5,406 took part in the full marathon including Major Jesse Knockleby who had a final time of 2:57:36.44. Warrant Officer Corey Peckford had a final time of 3:37:05.34. The 10 km race attracted a total of 13,016 participants. Representing Garrison Petawawa was Captain Ryan Salsbury with a time of 37:49.71. The 5 km was 9,319 people strong and Sergeant Marc Prud’homme had a final time of 19:40.62.

Olstad had nothing but praise for the athletes who competed despite the adversity.

“They did really, really well,” she said. The record hot temperatures did put a damper on their final times, but they still managed to shine amongst their peers, said Olstad.

Soldiers from Garrison Petawawa also demonstrated true grit during the triathlon.

The National Triathlon competition was held in Gatineau, QC from July 8 to 10. The athletes were confronted with a torrential downpour, but still managed to push through.

For this event, Petawawa sent Captain Chris McPhee in the Sprint Distance - male open under 40 and he had a final time of 1:14:44. Warrant Officer Antony Beswick, who did a Sprint Distance - male senior - 48+ finished with 1:17:14.

Sergeant Prud`homme did the Olympic Distance - male open under 40 and had a time of 2:07:33.

“These guys are very active in our local garrison Triathlon club,” she said. “It is their passion. They set their goals and they strive to achieve them.

“When you have the gift, it is great to see that they ... continue to challenge themselves,” she added.

Most summer sports competitions have wrapped up, but Garrison Petawawa will be hosting the 2016 Ontario Region Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships. Beginning on Aug. 8, athletes from Borden, Kingston, Trenton, North Bay, Toronto and Petawawa will meet on the Dundonald Hall fields and face off. The competition runs for five days (see full schedule on page 6).

“Soccer will be our last (sport) of the summer and then we will kickstart our Fall and Winter program,” said Olstad.

PSP staff are on the lookout for volunteers willing to help bring this event together.

If you wish to lend a hand, please contact Rebecca Olstad at rebecca.olstad@forces.gc.ca or 613-687-5511 ext 7176.