CPO2 Chris Fraser running in this year’s Wounded Warrior Run on Vancouver Island. Fraser is a top competitive runner in the Canadian Forces.

Runner earns stripes in military trenches

CFB Esquimalt Navy Run hits start line on June 18

If you saw Chris Fraser run in high school, you’d never believe he’d become one of the fastest men in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Fraser was on the school track team, but more often or not, he’d find himself at the back of the pack.

“It was frustrating,” he said.

Fast forward to 12 years ago. Fraser began training in a military aerobics program – and soon discovered a new love for running.

He started out at his own pace and distance, running two, sometimes three times a week, and often just two or three kilometres at a time.

“I gradually got better. It wasn’t like, let’s try to run five kilometres in 20 minutes. It was let’s start off and see if I can do a couple kilometres and slowly progress to 5K and progress from that,” said Fraser, 46, a chief petty officer in navy at CFB Esquimalt.

It took him six years of training before he decided to run a half-marathon.

Today, Fraser runs more than 100 kilometres a week, and has qualified for the prestigious Boston Marathon. In addition, he’s a top competitor at the Canadian Armed Forces Running Nationals.

By any standard, he is a competitor with average paces of 19 minutes in the 5K, 40 minutes in the 10K and 3:20 in the marathon.

“Running is an activity you can do and forget about everything else that’s happening around you,” Fraser said. “It gives you a little time away from yourself and not think about anything else.

“You always feel a little bit more relaxed and focused after the run.”

Fraser will be giving back this year at the CFB Esquimalt Navy Run on June 18 where he will be an official pacer. He’ll pace those hoping to run the 10-kilometre race in 50 minutes.

As for Fraser’s dream race, it’s not the Boston Marathon or even the New York Marathon, but the Dopey Race put on at Disney World in Florida. It’s a series of races from five kilometres to the marathon run over four days.

“It’s all four of my favourites distances all combined in one event,” Fraser chuckled.

To register for the Navy Run, please go online to navyrunesquimalt.com. Race entry is $30 for military, $35 for DND civilian workers and $40 for the public. There’s also a kids’ fun run ($15).

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