More than 400 compete in Iron Warrior

The major unit to win was 2nd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment (2 RCR) and the minor unit to win the Iron Warrior was 2 CMBG Headquarters and Signal Squadron. Trophies were presented by 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) Commander Colonel (Col) Jason Adair (right) and Brigade Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Shawn Mercer (left). (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
It was with great determination that Master Corporal Shane Stewart took first place again this year. Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

With the morning light still a distant hope, hundreds of participants set out for the grueling 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) Iron Warrior.

Iron Warrior, previously known as Ironman, is not for the faint of heart. It sees military members and civilians complete a 32 km march while carrying a 40-lb rucksack, followed by a 4 km canoe portage, an 8 km paddle against the currents of the Ottawa River and a 6 km race towards the finish line.

“Soldiers love challenges,” said Event Organizer Captain (Capt) Jason O’Rourke. “They don’t join for an easy life. This is something that appeals (to them).”

As the popularity of the event grew over the years, it was split into two days. On Sept. 6, 198 people hit the racecourse while the following day saw 211 compete.

It is designed to test the mental and physical resiliency of the soldiers who compete.

“Fitness is obviously a big part of the military and it is a big priority here at 2 Brigade and this is in line with what a lot of us like to do,” said Capt O’Rourke.

To keep the soldiers fighting fit and prevent them from getting seriously injured, a large medical staff was on standby. There were guide points all along the route with people ready to offer aid at a moment’s notice.

Having such events is important to the brigade.

“It generates resilience, which is intrinsic in everything we do,” said 2 CMBG Commander Colonel (Col) Jason Adair. “It sets the standard for who we are and what we do.”

“It is an incredible accomplishment,” he added.

He and Brigade Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Shawn Mercer were both awed and proud of all who competed, regardless of where they placed.

“You always learn something about yourself and you learn about the people around you,” said CWO Mercer.

During the Sept. 7 race, 2nd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment (2 RCR) Master Corporal (MCpl) Shane Stewart came in first for the second year in a row with a time of 05:38:26.7. “I don’t go out there to win,” he said. “It’s nice but I just go out for myself.”

(Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

He did run into some trouble while canoeing. The fog was so thick that he lost the route and paddled an extra kilometre to shore. He estimates it probably added five minutes to his time, but ultimately did not slow him down much.

In second place was Corporal Thomas Demandt with 05:54:18.7 and Major Kane Carr came in third with 06:10:19.3. The Male Master winner was Jeff White who came in at 06:29:34.4.

The Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) Lieutenant Avery Burke was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 07:18:32.5. She initially had no idea where she placed.

“It was a good challenge,” she said, pointing out the canoe she had to portage weighed more than half her weight.

In second place was Private Elissa Cameron with 07:22:51.6 and the third female was Captain Amanda Morrison with 07:30:44.3. Master Warrant Officer Nicole Barrett was the Female Master, finishing with a time of 07:56:37.8.

During the first day, Major Jesse Knockleby came in first with 05:41:27.3 as both the top Male and Male Master. He was followed by Captain Harry Morrison with 05:51:08.9 and Captain Raphael Wiesenberg who came in third with 06:09:47.9. Sergeant Erin Carter was the first female at 08:10:25.1, Sergeant Marie-Christine Boisvert was second with 08:47:21.8 and Sergeant Helen Hawes was the third female and first Female Master with a time of 08:53:26.9. The major unit to win was 2 RCR and the minor unit team to win was 2 CMBG Headquarters and Signal Squadron.

Complete results can be found at