Canada

Injured soldiers run half marathon in Ottawa

A soldier who lost his legs during combat in Afghanistan completed the Army Run's half marathon on Sunday using carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, part of his efforts to get redeployed.

A soldier who lost his legs during combat in Afghanistan completed the Army Run's half marathon on Sunday using carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, part of his efforts to get redeployed.

Master Cpl. Jody Mitic, who lost both legs below the knee when he stepped on a landmine during a routine patrol in January 2007, finished the 21-kilometre run in three hours 22 minutes 46 seconds. Thirty-one other injured soldiers participated in the half marathon and five-kilometre events, which attracted 11,000 participants in downtown Ottawa.

Mitic, who wants to return to Afghanistan as a helicopter gunner, said he is breaking new ground for amputee soldiers. But to qualify for the combat mission, he must pass two fitness tests by the military.

Mitic's prosthetic legs still cause him pain and blistering. During his run, he stopped every few kilometres to readjust them.

Single-leg amputee Rick Ball, who has a high-tech prosthetic leg, set a world record for one-legged runners, finishing the half marathon in 1:20.45. Some completed the course in wheelchairs.

Spectator Dayle Mulligan, 46, was particularly moved by soldiers who continue to run despite suffering life-changing disabilities.

"When you see the injured soldiers, it's pretty heart-wrenching," Mulligan said.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, who took part in the five-kilometre segment of the run, welcomed the runners as they crossed the finish line.

With files from The Canadian Press

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