Ex Mountain Man 16 Challenge
By: Lt Richard M. Yang
Once again Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) assembled their team for one of the most gruelling events of the year. The 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG) Commander Col. W.H. Fletcher said, “the event is the single most challenging individual event any soldier can accomplish in Canada.” The Mountain Man challenge is composed of a 32 km weighted ruck run, a 3.2 km portage, a 10 km canoe paddle on the North Saskatchewan River, and finishes with a 5.6 km ruck run. The top competitor in the Regiment completed the event in 6:36:35hr by Maj Paul Leonard, followed closely by Cpl Lawrence Emery at 7:09:38hr. Overall, the Regimental team accomplished the goal they set for themselves and it was an extremely rewarding experience for both the organizers and the competitors.
Just coming off an extremely busy training cycle on the Road to High Readiness, the Regiment set out immediately to build the 2016 Mountain Man team. Training time was short but, the team valiantly sacrificed evenings and weekends to team practice. The team’s training culminated with a mini-Mountain Man in St Albert, consisting of a 20km run and a 3.5km portage, much to the amusement of local residents.
The Regimental team comprised of 22 competitors with an even distribution among all Squadrons within the Regiment. There were many seasoned veterans that participated as well (MCpl Christopher Clegg from B Sqn, Tpr Tom Lauterbacher from A Sqn, MS Marie-Eve Brassard from HQ and WO Robert Englehart from A Sqn). This year saw the LdSH(RC) team as the sole team with 22 out of 22 competitors crossing the finish line without any injuries or quits in the Brigade. The finish line was well-manned by Cpl Alison Sawyer, who proudly waved the Regimental Flag and yelled constant encouragement to the tired competitors.
Final mention must go to Lt Leland Kirkham, who, deciding the competition was not tough enough, managed to break his canoe during portage. He still managed to finish the race and thereby exemplified the Regimental motto and caused much hilarity to the rest of the competition.
Overall, Ex MOUNTAIN MAN 16 was extremely rewarding for the organizers and the participants. The annual event brought together the local communities, avid runners and the. We all look forward to the next year’s competition.