Jennifer Courville, Real Property Operations Detachment Petawawa, on the portage portion of the Sprint distance on Sept. 11, was both the first female and the first female Master to cross the finish line. Photo by Cpl Peter Grieves
Photo by Cpl Peter Grieves
Photo by Cpl Peter Grieves
Photo by Cpl Melissa Gloude
Photo by Cpl Melissa Gloude
With a time of 2:10:53, Corporal Liam Hanna, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, came in first place on Sept. 11. Photo by Patricia Leboeuf
Sergeant Peter Eden carries his daughter Abigail, 2 1/2, for the final steps of his race. Photo by Patricia Leboeuf
Lieutenant Johanna Guay was the first female to cross the line on Sept. 12 with a time of 5:26:18. Photo by Patricia Leboeuf
2 CMBG Iron Warrior 2021
By Patricia Lebouef
Posted on Thursday September 23, 2021
Despite the format change, the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) Iron Warrior 2021 was no less gruelling this year.
It still tested both the physical and mental fortitude of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and civilian employees in a race against the clock, the elements and each other.
In keeping with tradition, the 2021 race days were divided into segments that forced participants to complete a weighted ruck march, portage and canoe segments, as well as a run to the finish line. The “sprint” length of 21 km was a new addition to this year’s event, happening on Sept. 11. The longer 42 km marathon was held the following day, Sept. 12.
The event raised approximately $8,000 for the Renfrew County office of United Way East Ontario, flagship charity of Garrison Petawawa’s National Defence Workplace Charitable Campaign (NDWCC).
Notably different to this year was the location. While competitors began their race at Dundonald Hall with the sound of a blank Howitzer round, the path brought them outside the garrison to the Ottawa River, Petawawa Point, and Laurentian Drive to the finish line at the Petawawa Civic Centre.
This allowed spectators to watch the runners come in at breakneck speeds, and marvel over military static displays on-site.
“I think that the Brigade Commander’s intent was to build stronger ties with the town and to enjoy the town instead of closing ourselves off like we usually do,” said event organizer Major (Maj) Jan Kool.
“It’s important that we test ourselves,” he added. “It’s a challenging race. Forty-two km with a 35 lb bag on your back is not something that is easily done. For all the competitors who chose to challenge themselves and compete, it’s, as we saw, a bit of a gut-check.”
For those who finish the race, there is an incredible sense of pride and accomplishment.
“It is more than worth the pain of the race itself,” noted Maj Kool.
Both 2 CMBG Commander Colonel Eric Landry and 2 CMBG Brigade Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Jeramie Leamon competed in the Saturday race. They were among the 196 who competed on the first day - 149 males, and 47 females. On the second day, there were 213 racers, 198 of them male and 15 female.
Maj Kool is incredibly grateful to the entire team and their hard work setting things up, particularly Master Warrant Officer Eric LeClair, who assisted with execution of the event despite being posted to another battalion within the regiment.
“I want to make sure that all the credit goes on to the people who did all the work, from 3 RCR, from 1 RCR, from 2 RCR and from all of the brigade units that chipped in to make this a reality,” he said.
He is looking forward to competing next year.
On the Sprint Day, Corporal Liam Hanna of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR), came in at 2:10:53.
The first female to finish was civilian Jennifer Courville, with a time of 2:44:14. She admits being very shocked but pleased by her result.
“I’ve always admired everybody who’s done this before, and this is the first year, they’ve had a sprint distance,” said Courville. “I felt that it was maybe a stepping stone to attempting the full length one day.”
Major (Ret’d) Jesse Knockleby came in first on Sept. 12. He enjoyed the challenge of being on the water, running, portaging and marching with his heavy ruck, and finished with a time of 3:50:20.
“It was beautiful weather conditions, so when I hit the water, the sun was just coming up so it was a beautiful sunrise heading out and perfect weather, just a small tail wind,” he said. “I wish I had brought my fishing rod.”
His children were there to greet him as he crossed the finish line.
“I’m my dad’s biggest fan,” said Everett Knockleby.
The first female to finish the marathon race was Lieutenant (Lt) Johanna Guay. Working with Aeromedical Evacuation Flight (CF AE Flt) at 8 Wing Trenton, she wasn’t sure if she would be allowed to compete. But to her surprise, she not only was allowed but won first place in her category.
She was accompanied by another runner who she met on the track. Together, they encouraged each other until it came time to part.
“I have long legs, which is great, so I caught up on the portage,” said Lt Guay. “Because that’s what I do. I portage and I kayak a lot.”
During the Sprint day, the top male was Corporal Hanna, 3 RCR, with a time of 2:10:53. In second place was Bombardier Alaxandre Derguy, 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (2 RCHA), with a time of 2:13:59. In third place, Jeff White, Defence Construction Canada, finished with a time of 2:15:00.
The top male Master was also Jeff White, followed by Sergeant Duncan Hill, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, with 2:16:59. The third place male Master was Kirk McCann, 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) with 2:29:55.
The top female was Jennifer Courville, Real Property Operations Detachment Petawawa, with 2:44:14. In second place was Corporal Katherine Smith, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM), with 2:45:45. In third place was Sadie Anderson, 4 CDSG, with 3:05:53.
Courville was also the top female Master. With a second place time was Sandra Heidel, Real Property Operations Detachment Petawawa, with 3:45:15. In third place was Master Corporal Natalie Keenan, Canadian Armed Forces Transition Centre Petawawa (CAF TC Petawawa), with 4:12:23.
On the marathon day, the top male was Maj (Ret’d) Jesse Knockleby, Real Property Operations Detachment Petawawa, with a time of 3:50:20. The second place winner was Master Corporal Jude Martin, The Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD), with 4:15:56. In third place, Lieutenant Colonel Matt Cossaboom, 21 Electronic Warfare Regiment, with 4:15:56. The top male Master was Knockleby, followed by Cossaboom. Colonel Dany Boivin, Canadian Forces Electronic Warfare Centre, was the third male Master with 4:45:08
The top female on the marathon day was Lt Johanna Guay with a time of 5:26:18. In second place was Corporal Shannelle Adam, 2 Field Ambulance (2 Fd Amb) with 5:28:42 and in third place was Corporal Heather Burke, 1 Canadian Field Hospital (1 Cd Fd Hosp) with 5:40:27.
The top female Master was Master Warrant Officer Krista Gardner, 4 CDSG, with 7:19:07.
Real-time competitor tracking was unavailable this year, however, competitors have been provided with their finish times.