Category Archives: Activities

Mission accomplished …..time for a rest

Hi gang, Marijo and I have returned from the Ottawa Army run happy and satisfied that we each achieved our goals. I’m feeling terribly guilty for all the attention this event has garnered me. So now it’s time to simply say thank you for all the support. The cheers of encouragement and well wishes that we received before and after was amazing. The highlites of the race were numerous. From the start, to the oh my gosh I really have to do this, to meeting the Governor General at the 17km mark. It was quite an honor as I was really crashing and along side of the empty highway we were on stopped a motorcade of vehicles. It was just like out of the movies when the US president is being whipped into a location. Motorcycles, security cars, limos all with their lite flashing. Out pops David Johnston and the first thing he asked me was, was I tired? I told him it was nothing that a beer wouldn’t fix. He asked me if I had served in Afghanistan and upon saying no I very briefly told him my story. After leaving him Marie Andree (my physio therapist from Ottawa) and I continued on our way. Marie Andree was great as she continually deflected runners away from me during the race. She’s a great body guard. We met all our my family and friends at km 18 and proceeded to all walk to the finish line. Their support and encouragement got me through the last few kilometers.  The Army run folks looked after me so well. Police motorcycles and cars and medical vans never left me during the last 6km. I was on the CBC news cast that nite and the announcer said Terry Fox would have been proud….that was quite touching. There were so many people in the run that all had their own stories. So much inspiration and I was so happy to have been a little part of it. My time was 5 hrs and 40 seconds. I wanted to be under 5 hours so I will blame it all on the Governor General for holding me up….just kidding! My biggest thanks to my wife Marijo who supported me and enabled me the opportunity to walk each step of the way. She had to listen to me whine for 5 months…lol. So now for a little rest and time to figure out what the next adventure might be.

Toronto Marathon for Marijo & Bryan

Jo and I had a great time this past weekend at the Toronto Marathon. It was a bit of a logistical battle and some thinking had to go into it as to how she was going to run at 8:30 and ensure that I got to my start place at noon. Fortunately we had a lot of help from Jim & Dave. Jo had 4,667 in her race and she was happy coming in with a time around the two hr 20 minute mark. I was fortunate to shave off another three and a half minutes from my recent Pitter Patter race in Belleville and broke the one hr ten minute markfor the first time. There where almost 1,600 runners & walkers in the 5k and this time I didn’t finish last. I found my race very tough with the 2k mark again proving to be the spot where I feel exhausted. Although it was a fairly flat course there was 1 uphill section as well as some sloped areas. We were even interview by CBC Toronto the day before and received a couple of minutes of fame along the way. So we have one more race and it’s the Army run in Ottawa in Sept. We both came home very tired and vowed we’d give ourselves a couple of weeks off from training.

Bryan stats click here

Marijo stats click here

Marijo & Bryan CBC Toronto newscast click here (please note our portion is at minutes 15:17 to 17:15)

The last speech…..maybe

Marijo and I went at did a speech at KGH (Kingston General Hospital). This was open to the entire hospital and we enjoyed doing it as we are so grateful for all they did for me in my sickness. We felt pretty good about the speech and on the drive home we decided that might be it for awhile for speech giving. We felt the story is getting a bit old and it’s time to turn to a new chapter where disability was not the main focus. We enjoyed doing all of our speeches. We would really like to share this speech with you. It’s a bit lengthy at 42 minutes so get the family and grab some popcorn. Now if your name is Ellen or Oprah we might consider coming out of retirement.

New personal best but still last….lol

Well Marijo and her brother Jim , David and I competed in the Pitter Patter run this past Sunday. Also along for the third year in a row since my disability was Liam (my grandson) and my daughter Jennifer. It was a cool but windless day which turned out to be perfect. This was my first year to do this local run with just my cane and I was able to shave over 9 minutes off my time from Ottawa last year and came in with a time of 1:13:15. This course however was much easier then Ottawa as it is very flat. Again around the 2k mark I asked myself why was I doing this as I just wanted to stop. It’s weird as I know even abled bodied I used to ask myself the same question. We all had a great time and the 4 of us will head to Toronto on May 5th to do it all over again. I’m happy and I still see progress, a big thank you to Marie Andree from the Ottawa General hospital for all the balance training she gave me last December. Now back to training for my next two runs…if I could just figure out how to go faster, I wonder if I could ever break the hour mark….hmmmmmm!

Pitter Patter lets get at it!

pitterpatterpitter

Sunday April 22, 2013 will be my fourth time (third disabled) participating in our local fund raising run for Belleville Community Policing. The Pitter Patter run is  special to us as I ran in this event with Marijo 5 years ago able bodied with both of us completing in the 10 km. Becoming disabled I completed 2011 pushing and hanging on for dear life to a 4 wheeled walker. 2012 saw me lose the walker and graduate to crutches. On Sunday I will throw away the crutches and use a single cane. My times get slower and slower as each improvement requires more strength and energy but I call it progress. Each year Marijo’s Mom has gone around with me and she’s now 85. The first year she beat me and I edged her out last year so this year is really going to be a grudge match….ha! My grandson Liam who is one will go around with me for the third time (first year he was in his Mom’s tummy). My goal and yes I always have goals as I can’t shake the whole competitiveness thing is to beat 1 hr 22 mins (and Marijo’s mom of course) which was my time in Ottawa last year doing this same distance with a cane. Marijo and I head off to Toronto in two weeks to participate in the Toronto Goodlife Marathon. She will run in her 3rd 1/2 marathon and me my 5th 5k. Next years possible goal…..maybe the 10 k!

End of the Ski Season for us

It’s the end of another sit skiing season at Brimacombe Ski Club in Oshawa. The program that we participate in is a CADS program and enables me to learn to ski ski, with qualified instructors keeping me safe. Thanks for another great year, and a special thanks to Bruce our instructor for the past 2 years (he’s the one in red in some of the video footage above.

I’m not a soldier but I’m proud to say I know a few!

This past Sunday Marijo and I made our way to Ottawa to participate in the Army Run. Marijo ran the 1/2 marathon, a distance of 21.1 km and I walked in the 5k, in a division called ‘ill and injured’. We both had many thoughts and emotions that I am going to try and share below.

Firstly, a number of weeks ago I entered my story into a contest in ‘iRun’, a popular Canadian running magazine. I won the contest, and, as a result, my story was published in the September issue. The prize was that I would be accompanied by a soldier for the Army Run. When we arrived at the run, a number of people recognized me from the magazine and stopped us to talk or take a photo. It was sort of cool.

Secondly, this run was a very important to me. I had not been in any large city centre run before, able-bodied or as an amputee, and I wanted to do the walk with just a cane, which I had never done before.
We met up with Mathieu Giard, the soldier who had volunteered to walk alongside of me for the run. Mattieu suffered a serious injury while serving in the military a few years ago, but there was nothing visually that gave away his injury, so to look at him, you would not know what he had been through as a young man. He was also dressed as a civilian, so it was not obvious that he was military. Mathieu and I got to know each other as we walked together. He is an amazing guy and I was honored to meet him.
We also met Robert Clarke, a Master Warrant Officer, and one of the principal organizers of the run. Even though he was incredibly busy on race day, he helped Marijo and I feel comfortable and safe during the day.As Mathieu and I waited in the corral for the ‘ill and injured’, I found myself overwhelmed with emotion. In front of us were about 100 other ‘ill and injured’, many being soldiers. Directly behind us were several thousand people chomping at the bit to begin their run – which didn’t start until 15 minutes after our small group left. In the midst of feeling quite vulnerable and awkward – scared that I was going to be overrun by the able bodied runners – humbled by the many men and women who were injured so that I could be free and realizing that many mistook me for a soldier, which I was not – I asked Mathieu to hold onto the stump of what used to be my arm, and held me steady. Marijo captured the moment in one of the shots above. She was moved to tears.The cannon went off and Mathieu and I began our 5 km walk in last place – sometimes arm-in-arm for support, and sometimes stride-for-stride. The thousands of other runners did overtake us eventually, but I felt secure with Mathieu watching my back. The crowds enthusiasm and my fellow runners support were amazing. Shouting, clapping, thumbs up signs – all of which made you want to do your best. But still, I knew many mistook me for an injured soldier, so when people shouted thank you for what I had done, I told Mathieu that those comments were for him. I had long stopped trying to explain but I wanted Mathieu to soak up what was meant for him and all the other soldiers.I struggled walking during the run and remember at the 2km marker saying ‘there must be a mistake. Surely we must have gone at least 4km.’ We walked passed groups of fireman and police that clapped for us and although I felt that pang of guilt that I was not one of them, I reminded myself that I had fought my own battle, it’s just that I had a different enemy called flesh eating disease. When we were a few steps from finishing, I asked Mathieu to hold his arm in mine to cross the finish line together. I had the biggest smile on my face and we came in with a time of 1 hr & 22 minutes …pretty much dead last ….but man did we feel like winners!
Thank you Mathieu and Robert for blessing this event. Thank you to all those soldiers that gave me the honour and privilege to be able to participate. My beautiful wife ran a personal best in the half marathon coming in at 2 hrs & 11 minutes. My granddaughter Caryissa only 4 wks old was at the finish line to greet me along with my son and his wife. To the wonderful gals Kathline & Lisa from irun Magazine – thanks for your smiles and your support.Thank you to Stephan and Giuseppe, fellow amputees for your encouragement. You are both an inspiration to me.
Marijo and I will be attending this event for a long time forward.
To the Canadian soldier I simply say thank you.