BCA Report staff writer
In 2010, Jamie Massie, president, co-founder and coowner of Georgian International, approached the Barrie Construction Association (BCA) and Simcoe Home Builders Association (SCHBA) to enlist their support in raising funds for Operation Hero. This year the run celebrates its seventh year and is approaching its million dollar initial goal.
Event co-chair Anita Stacey says Massie approached the associations based on their proven success with similar projects. She herself had recently seen the Ottawa based Army Run and the effort made sense. “That first year we had to make some concessions in the choices we made to get it off the ground quickly but it was a success that year and has been every year since.”
Launched by local business and community leaders, Operation Hero intends to honour and thank those who serve, have served and those who have been lost, by funding Georgian College scholarships for members of Canadian military families. To date, the run has contributed $164,000 to the fund, which has provided 11 bursaries. “We lost two of our local boys – sapper Brian Collier and private Kevin Thomas McKay who were killed in Afghanistan. Their families annually come out to be part of the event which is really special.”
Stacey says part of the BCA’s mandate is to connect the community, the base and Georgian College. With the run taking place on the base, participants and observers are able to visit the base, and to see some of the beautiful countryside the run’s 5k, 10k and half marathon wind through. “This isn’t just a run. It’s a family day, a day for people to come out and to connect and to participate at whatever level they are able.”
This year also marks Base Borden’s centennial year. Stacey says organizers are looking at some unique additions to this year’s race to commemorate the anniversary. A sponsorship note about this year’s run indicates the race is targeting 800 runners this year and hopes to provide special kit bags, with prizes donated by sponsors, to mark the event.
Race participants will also receive finisher’s medals, designed to resemble military tags, and a run t-shirt. Special medals will be presented to race winners.
Through registration fees, pledges and sponsorship dollars, the event has been working to reach the goal of raising $1 million, which will ensure the scholarships into the future. This year’s Sept. 25 event is expected to meet that goal.
For more information, or to register, visit http://basebordenrun. ca.