Winter’s fury can’t stop Wounded Warriors BC runners

Wounded Warriors BC

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer — Neither rain, snow, nor sleet could keep the Wounded Warrior Run BC (WWRBC) team from delivering on their promise.

The eight-member team’s task was an eight-day relay-style run across Vancouver Island, covering more than 600 kilometres. Their mission: to raise awareness and funds on behalf of Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) for programs that benefit military members, veterans and first responders who are experiencing Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This year’s annual trek was made more exhausting by multiple snowstorms, howling winds and sub-zero temperatures for a good chunk of the event, said Captain (Capt) Jacqueline Zweng of the Regional Cadet Support Unit, WWRBC Director and run participant.

“Although the weather didn’t slow our runners down, it certainly added a level of complexity that we aren’t used to,” Capt Zweng said. “These were the worst weather conditions I have seen in my seven years of participating in the event.”

The team’s other members from the Base included: Captain (Capt) Natalie Butler, runner; Capt Jacqueline Zweng, Race director; Master Sailor (MS) Amver Cinco of the Naval Personnel Training Group (NPTG), runner; Matt Carlson, a civilian employee with the Base Commander’s Office and Support
Team Runner; and Chief Petty Officer Second Class John Penner, a Divisional Commander of Naval Fleet School (Pacific) and the team’s photographer.

On March 5, the team completed their gruelling mission. A large crowd of supporters gathered to cheer them on at the finish line at Market Square in downtown Victoria. Their well-wishers included Del Manak, Victoria Police Chief, and Marianne Alto, the Mayor of Victoria. Other supporters included Rear-Admiral Christopher Robinson, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) and Capt(N) J. Jeffrey Hutchinson, Commander, CFB Esquimalt.

The first leg of their run from Port Hardy to Woss on Feb. 26 set the tone for this year’s event as a late winter snowstorm, and near-zero visibility greeted runners at the start line. Several days of below-seasonal temperatures were followed by a torrential rain, snow and sleet storm between Ladysmith and Chemainus on the penultimate day of their run.

The cold weather didn’t cool the generosity of donors, with this year’s campaign raising $134,721 at last count for Wounded Warriors programs.

WWRBC is now in its tenth year, and Capt Zweng, who has been with the event for seven years, said the event has helped transform public opinion and knowledge of mental health issues facing military members, first responders, and their families.

The outpouring of support and encouragement the runners received at community organizations like fire halls, Royal Canadian Legion branches and other community organizations along the way is positive proof that things are improving with every stride the runners take, she says.

“One hundred per cent, things are changing for the better, and in the ten years this run has been happening we have seen positive impacts at every one of our stops on Vancouver Island,” Capt Zweng said. “Wounded Warriors Canada and their supporters recognize that that members do not suffer Operational Stress Injuries in silos and their spouses and families also feel the negative effects.”

Capt Zweng noted the importance of WWC programs such as Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday (COPE) and its Spousal Resiliency Program as examples of relevant support programs available.

The fundraising concludes on March 31, and donations can be made at

Wounded Warriors BC

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