Athletes run General Brocks final route

Brock University athletes will follow in the footsteps of the Major-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock Saturday in a grueling 11 kilometre run that has become a right of passage for hockey players.Men’s hockey coach Murray Nystrom started the tradition in 1998 and said it is mandatory for his players.“It’s kind of like taxes,” he laughed. “It’s one of those experiences that as you do it, as you are in the middle of it, there’s not much enjoyment but when it’s done, there’s a sense of pride.”The annual run, which has grown to include other Athletic teams, is a bonding experience for the athletes and fosters a sense of pride in Sir Isaac Brock’s history.“The route that we take, following Brock’s actual path, has a significant historical element to it that’s important for our athletes and students to know,” Nystrom said.On Oct. 13, 1812 Brock, commander-and-chief of British forces in Upper Canada during the War of 1812, received word of a battle at Queenston and with a regiment of soldiers started the trek from Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake.On that fateful morning, Brock raced from Fort George to Queenston. It was to be his final act. He was fatally wounded while leading his troops into battle against the Americans.Brock’s regiment did it in double time with a hundred pounds of gear on their backs.The route isn’t easy; with most of it snaking its way uphill along the Niagara River before cutting inland up the escarpment towards Queenston Heights.Athletes share the dread of the arduous run but Nystrom said that’s part of what makes participating an accomplishment they remember. Often when talking to alumni, the run is a favourite reminiscence, he said.“Brock’s regiment did it in double time with a hundred pounds of gear on their backs,” Nystrom said.Brock hockey player Daniel Tanel will do the run for the fifth time this year.“I would be lying if I said I look forward to it every year,” he joked. ““It’s very long and hockey players aren’t used to long-distance running but the team keeps it fun.“It is a good team building event for us.”Each year, Nystrom invites other teams to participate in the run and typically there is a good crowd. This year he expects the women’s hockey team, cross country running team and women’s volleyball players to take part.