Strength at Sea Fitness Challenge

Photo by Cpl Laura Landry

Trident Newspaper

The PO2 Craig Blake Memorial Fitness Challenge is a short distance “sprint” triathlon held at MacDonald’s Beach near 12 Wing Shearwater, Nova Scotia, in September. 

The event is organized to honour the athletic achievements of avid cyclist and triathlete PO2 Craig Blake, the first Canadian soldier to fall in Afghanistan.

The goal of the event is to bring people of all fitness levels together to strive to do their best through friendly competition.

With HMCS Fredericton deployed on Operation Reassurance while the 2021 Fitness Challenge took place at home in September, members of the ship expressed interest to Race Director Kevin Miller from Personnel Support Programs (PSP) in supporting the event while at sea.

Coordination began immediately, with Sports Officer MCpl Kerri Shultz tasked to come up with a plan to make it happen. It was decided to use a rower, stationary bike, and treadmill on board for the challenge.

The 300m swim, 6.5km bike, and 2km run of the PO2 Craig Blake Memorial Fitness Challenge were replaced with a 1000m row, 6.5km bike, and 2km run on the stationary fitness equipment.  A mandatory one minute break was used to ensure transitions were done safely and allow time to adjust the equipment to fit each competitor.  Participants could sign up for the individual category where they would complete all three activities, or in the team category where each member completed one leg of the event in a relay format. 

“Overall, we had a great time organizing the event and we were pleased with the turn out. It definitely boosted the morale on board and gave everyone something to train for during the deployment. I loved seeing fresh faces back in the gym and on the cardio equipment,” MCpl Schultz said.

The event was dubbed the Strength at Sea Fitness Challenge, and PSP staff designed a personalized logo and T-shirt for the event. The design incorporated elements of the PO2 Craig Blake Memorial Fitness Challenge logo, Fredericton’s badge and motto “Stalker of the Seas.”

“I’m really glad we were able to make this happen for the members of HMCS Fredericton. The feedback has been fantastic.  Hopefully the Strength at Sea Fitness Challenge can be continued next year by any ships on deployment in the fall,” Miller added.


Fellow Sports Officer PO2 Matt Swain assisted MCpl Schultz in coordination and timing of the event. A leaderboard was updated daily and placed in the canteen flats, creating friendly competition between peers and comrades. Plaques and prizes were distributed upon completion of the event. Top three prizes were awarded in each category.

Individual Category
1st – PO2 Matt Swain
2nd – CPO2 Dan Doyle
3rd – MCpl Jeremy Poitras

Team Category
1st – Cmdre Brad Peats, CPO2 Dan Doyle, Capt Steve Morris
2nd – S1 Cameron Huckabone, S1 Will Bonvie, S1 Yazdan Kelewala
3rd – S1 Brad Morrison, MS Donald O’Leary, S1 Nathan Wright


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