As one of the most heartwarming and inspiring events on Ottawa’s sporting calendar, the Canada Army Run features 25,000 proud participants. Showing their support for Canada’s military, the Run also raises money for the Military Families Fund and Solider On program. With Canadians running alongside veterans and current armed forces members, people from all walks of life and athletic backgrounds come together for a great cause.
One such individual also has proud roots to the Canadian national women’s soccer team. Taking into account that Ottawa was one of the host cities for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup of Soccer, it was of great excitement to have former national team member Kathryn Clewley participate.
A former goalkeeper for the Canadian national women’s soccer team, the 36 year-old played for head coaches such as Neil Turnbull and Even Pellerud. Among her career highlights, she appeared in the 1999 Pan American Games, and also recorded a shutout in a contest against Costa Rica.
At this year’s Canada Army Run, Clewley made a memorable impression. Engaging in the rare feat of running backwards in the Army Run’s half marathon, it was an extension of her proud athletic legacy. Of note, she gained the idea after taking her four year-old Schnauzer on her daily run. Upon her pet slowing down, she turned around to safeguard but continued running, doing so in a backwards position.
Since hanging up her soccer shoes, Clewley has become active in the long distance running community. In 2009, she ranked among the top 600 Canadian women in 10K races. Finishing the 117th Boston Marathon on 15 April 2013, it represented a great milestone in her running career.
The chance to engage in her empowering backward half marathon in the Ottawa Army Run only adds to such momentum. Considering that her sister Rachel lives in the city, it was an appropriate location to attempt such a run. With Rachel as her running mate, her presence added to the magic of the effort.
Having built up her endurance by allowing for an extra 15 minutes during the run times of her weekend workouts, Clewley also told Sun Media that was prepared for the weird look she may get from observers. The only look that she deserved was one of admiration.
Although her goal was to become the first Canadian to finish a half marathon backwards in less than 2 hours, there was no feeling of loss on this day, as the humanitarian cause held far greater relevance than the race itself. At an event where racers were running to raise funds for charity and remember family members that may have been wounded or worse during their brave military service, Clewely had a special cause in her heart. Raising money for her area’s YMCA, where she is also employed in the capacity of program director.
Follow Clewley on twitter at: https://twitter.com/ultrafitkat