The ‘Run to Remember’ is a 460 km relay that makes it’s way through many communities between the start at the Ontario Police Memorial site in Toronto to the end at the National Memorial on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Not only does the run raise awareness about the Memorial Service it also gives peace officers and citizens along the route the opportunity to participate in some small way if they are unable to attend the actual Memorial Service." -- National Peace Officers' Memorial Run website
On Thursday, September 24 I joined hundreds of peace officers, supporters, families, media and politicians at the Police Memorial at Queen's Park for the launch of the annual Run to Remember. Two of my running friends are police officers and it was an easy decision to show my support of them and all the officers of our community and country. Supporters were invited to lace up and run the first 5K leg of the trek to Ottawa.
There were big name politicians in attendance, thus a lot of media which help to raise awareness for the event in future years. The speeches were both moving and motivating. Growing up in Toronto, I couldn't help but recognize the names of the officers whose lives had been lost on the shirts of their family members.
The sunny morning helped to keep spirits light, as did the presence of the special guest, Don Cherry. Also putting smiles on people's faces were several post-traumatic-stress service dogs. My friend Laurie was to run the first leg with Nova, the black german shepherd.
The runners got on their way passing below a giant Canadian flag held up by two fire ladder trucks. We ran at a nice easy pace straight down University to King and across to 51 division. There was a great feeling in the air, lots of chatter, clapping, cheers and a feeling of unity among the group. One of the Twitter hashtags for the run was #UnitedTogether. I really felt this during this run. It didn't matter if the runners were police officers, students, family members of those lost or citizens showing support. At the police division we gathered for snacks and chatter before those continuing on to Ottawa continued on their way.
I look forward to following their continued trek over the remaining 460km to Ottawa, and plan on being a part of this great event again next year.