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Petawawa Ironman 2017

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

GARRISON PETAWAWA – With the boom of artillery, the 34th annual Iron Man got underway late last week.


Over the course of two days – Sept. 7 and Sept. 8 – soldiers challenged themselves to the utmost of their physical prowess.

The Ironmen and Ironwomen were faced with completing a 32-kilometre run/march through the Petawawa training area before throwing 52-pound kevlar canoes on their backs and marching another four kilometres. Once they reached Clement Point, the racers then paddled down the Ottawa River for another eight kilometres. Landing at Jubilee Lodge, they shuffled the final leg of six kilometres to the finish line at Dundonald Hall where family, friends and fellow comrades cheered them on to the end.

During the first day of competition on Thursday, 170 men and 15 women took on the challenge. Cpl. Dave Allie was the top finisher coming in with a time of 5:58. He was followed by Cpl. Matthew Madge, in second place at 6:02 and Maj Cossaboom at 6:15.

The top female finisher was Cpl. Sarah Shirley, who finished 12th overall with a time of 7:03. She was followed by Sgt. Alexandra Kong who had a time of 8:10, and Cpl. Jessica Sullivan with a time of 8:52.

The top male master finisher was Warrant Officer James Topp, who finished 11th overall with a time of 7:02. Top female master finisher was Cpl. Mann, who finished with a time of 10:16.

On Day 2, the competitor day, 138 men and 11 women worked their way through the course.

The top three male finishers for Day 2 are Master Cpl. Shane Stewart with a time of 5:53:56.9, closely followed by Sgt. Mario Larocque, who finished with 5:54:41.7 and Sgt. Donnie Simpson, who had a time of 6:06:39.9

This was the sixth Iron Man for Stewart, a member of 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. He said he has been taking part in endurance races since being a member of the running club at Gagetown, and trains consistently year round.

The Ironman's top three female finishers for Day 2 are Master Warrant Officer Nicole Barrett, who clocked a time of 7:29:08.4; Capt. Melissa Bott, with a time of 7:38:11.7, and Maj. Jacynthe Smith, who finished with a time of 7:54:18.7.

Cpl. Howard Kack, from 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, once more set a Canadian Army record for the most Petawawa Ironmans completed by an individual earning his 14th medallion.

The loud boom of a howitzer signaled the start of the race at 4 a.m. Before the gun sounded the commencement of the competition, 2 CMBG commander Col. Michael Wright had some words of encouragement.

“You've done the training to get to this point,” said Col. Wright, who ran in the first day of competition along with the brigade sergeant-major Chief Warrant Officer Shawn Mercer.

“You've done 90 per cent of the physical work and now you've got the last 10 per cent ahead of you today. You've got a whole lot of mental challenges ahead of you but think of all the time you've put in and all the family support you have here. So go out and have a great race,” Col. Wright said.

Started in 1983, the Petawawa Ironman encourages individual soldiers and the units within 2 CMBG to challenge themselves in order to promote a culture of physical robustness and mental resilience within the military community. It aims to promote a culture of physical robustness and mental resilience within the military community. In recent years, an invitation has been extended to include units from across Ontario and Canada with the Ironman growing to a two-day event. 

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