Tags: Army Featured
By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs
Ottawa, Ontario — The director of Canada Army Run is one of the six military members recognized in the 2017 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Recognition Program.
Each year, recipients are presented with a Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation for performance going beyond the expectations of their normal duties.
The honour comes at a significant time for Major Gus Garant: this year, his fourth Army Run, is also the event’s 10th anniversary.
“This year, because it’s our 10th anniversary, we’re introducing the 10K,” said an enthusiastic Maj Garant. “People are signing up for it. We’re close to 3,000 runners right now. I’m very happy with that.”
Word that he was selected as one of the honourees came as a shock, Maj Garant recalled.
“Some of the others are there because of operations,” he said. “One saved a life. Another one, he’s a search and rescue technician and his mission was to help someone that was injured in northern Quebec. When you look at this, you say, ‘Those guys did something big.’”
Still, Maj Garant said he and his team – Deputy Race Director Jeff Moyle and Marketing and Communications Coordinator Michael Timmermans – are justifiably proud of their contributions.
“Army Run is probably the biggest national event the Army has to reach out to Canadians. That has strategic value and we were all recognized because what we all do has made the Armed Forces look good and that’s why they recognized us.”
“Jeff, although young, comes with a bag full of experience,” Maj Garant added. “He has worked behind the scenes of many events. For example, I don’t know what it requires to set up a water station. For me, it’s just ‘we have x number of runners, this is how many gallons of water that will be needed.’ Jeff knows the detail of how a water station is set up. Michael is well-spoken, writes well. He understands what the event’s about. He understands the military.”
Maj Garant was first posted to Ottawa six years ago to take on the role of Operations Officer with Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa), which provides centralized administrative support to CAF members and civilian workers in the National Capital Region. His work there involved organizing ceremonial and other events in conjunction with other federal government organizations such the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Capital Commission.
In addition to that experience, Maj Garant also brings a strong personal passion for physical fitness that goes back to his youth.
“I joined the military when I was very young and one of the reasons is the physical aspect,” he said. “My dad was always a fitness freak. When I was 23, 24, in our little town of Caplan in the Gaspésie, they had a team triathlon. Dad and I said, ‘Why don’t we join?’ Dad did the biking, I did the running. Instead of swimming it was a kayak race. And we won it.”
Maj Garant began his military career in the Royal Canadian Navy but soon found he preferred to work on dry land.
“When I joined the Navy I’d never been on a ship and I realized I get seasick,” he recalled. “It took about three years to do all the basic training and I qualified but I was seasick all the time. Me and my buddy were planning to drive to Venice Beach, California in a Volkswagen van to be beach bums but I got to go and work with an Army officer and I thought maybe I shouldn’t get out, maybe I should go into the Army. So that’s what I did 31 years ago.”
Today, Maj Garant says the best part of his work with the Army Run is the opportunities it provides for interaction with others who share a love of athletics.
“When we travel to promote the run, we go to other running events. Many use running as a way to become fit, to stay fit. For whatever reason, their fitness is out of control and they decide through a running club to set themselves a goal. Now you see them, three, four months into that and they’ve worked their butts off to get where they need to be for race day. So they have a smile on their face. That’s what I love the most.”
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Article / July 25, 2017 / Project number: 17-0192