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News Article / March 27, 2015

By Ruthanne Urquhart

There’s a world of athletics out there, populated by first-class competitors, that you won’t find on TSN or in many of the sports magazines.

In that world, dedicated athletes from Canada—men and women—travel to venues around the globe to test their mettle against competitors from many nations. Athletes from other nations travel to Canada to do likewise. Some of these athletes are former National champions and some were Olympians, but all are highly dedicated athletes who spend a great deal of time and effort on the track, in the weight room, and cross-training. Records are set and broken. Many of the competitors pay their own way; some are sponsored by institutions, communities or service clubs.

Aside from training themselves to the top of their game and staying there year-round, there’s only one criterion they must meet to compete: they must be 35 years of age or older.

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Major Serge Faucher, serving with Director Air Programmes at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, is one such athlete. He competes in Ontario, Canadian and World Masters Athletics events in the 50–54 age category (M50). He is a sprinter who will run the occasional middle-distance race such as the 800-metre, but 400-metre events are his forte.

Major Faucher’s brother, Master Warrant Officer Claude Faucher, the Canadian Armed Forces Chief Official for running, works in the combined air operations centre at 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is a 13-time International Military Sports Council (CSIM) veteran who now competes in Masters Athletics events in the 45-49 age category (M45).

Master Warrant Officer Faucher got into track and field at 15, stayed in till he was almost 30, and just got back into it three years ago. Major Faucher was a road racer (5- and 10-kilometre distances) until his younger brother hooked him on track and field about five years ago.

On Saturday, March 14, 2015, the brothers travelled to the Toronto, Ontario, Track and Field Centre for the Canadian Masters Athletics Indoor Championships. Major Faucher placed second in the 200-metre on Saturday, missing the top spot by 0.12 seconds. The next day, he set a new Meet Record in the 400-metre, posting a respectable time of 56.38 seconds. In his age category, Master Warrant Officer Faucher finished third in the 800-metre on Saturday with a time of 2:11:10 minutes, and captured a first in the 1500-metre with a time of 4:37.38 minutes on Sunday. It was definitely worth the road trip for both runners.

New Canadian record

Major Faucher has other notches in his belt, however, and at least one feather in his cap.

In July 2014, Major Faucher (2nd leg) teamed with Andrew Tuovinen (1st leg), former Olympian Paul Osland (3rd leg) and Mike Sherar (anchor) at the Canadian Masters Athletics Championships for the outdoor 4 x 800-metre relay, “to take a crack at the World record held by an Australian team for the three previous years,” Major Faucher says.

“We beat the record—the outdoor record—by about 3 seconds. So we decided to try for the indoor record, which is actually faster. Normally, outdoor records are faster, but not here.”

Fast forward six months, to February 2015, when “Paul Osland asked me once again to be part of the team,” Major Faucher says, “to challenge the indoor 4 x 800-metre relay record.” Geoff Peat replaced Andrew Tuovinen (1st leg) but the other three runners returned this year.

“We ran the relay in 8:37.23 minutes,” Major Faucher says. “The record is still 8:32.95 minutes, held by an American team since 2005, so we were a little over 4 seconds off. Nevertheless, we have the new Canadian record. We broke the record that was set by a team from Calgary on January 18 this year.

“We plan to try for the World record again next year.”

The Faucher brothers now have their sights set on the upcoming World Masters Athletic Championships to be held in Lyon, France, in August of this year. And Major Joe Boland, from Maintenance Company, 1 Service Battalion, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, may join them there. Major Boland was very successful in his last World championships, winning three medals in the 800-metre, 1500-metre, and 4 x 400-metre races.

Go, Air Force and Army!

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