Baghdad Army Run raises 1K for Soldier On

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A group of Canadian soldiers stationed at Union III military base in Baghdad have raised over $1,000 from a five-kilometre charity run for the non-profit Soldier On.

The 12 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel were part of a larger group of 110 runners from 15 coalition nations who work at the U.S. Army’s Combined Joint Operations Centre and took part in the Army Run. The fundraiser was organized by CAF members.

Operated by the Canadian Forces Transition Group, Soldier On provides year-round regional sports camps and activities for its participants and manages Canada’s Warrior Games and Invictus Games teams.

Petty Officer Second Class Kanwar Nijjer, a finance supervisor at CFB Esquimalt’s Naval Fleet School (Pacific), is currently deployed to Iraq and took part in the run.

“The run was also great way to get to know other [military] members from around the world, and I made many friends that day,” said PO2 Nijjer. “Having a good physical training routine is a great way to relieve stress, take care of your body, and is ultimately tied to the success of the deployment.”

With average daytime high temperatures in the region reaching 40 Celsius, the run was held at 6:30 a.m. to avoid the scorching desert heat. Despite the early morning start time, PO2 Nijjer says the mercury had already climbed to 25 Celsius when the runners set off.

Run organizers raised a total $800 (U.S.) through sales of Army Run registration, and participants received a hat, race patch and dog tag as keepsakes.

PO2 Nijjer is part of Operation Impact, which was established in 2016 and is Canada’s contribution to the global coalition working to defeat Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. The coalition’s efforts are primarily focused on providing training for domestic security forces.  There are approximately 250 Canadian military personnel deployed in Iraq and include advisors, trainers, headquarters staff and force protection personnel.

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