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 The great thing about the military colleges is that your Class size is quite small in comparison to civilian universities so pretty well everyone knows everyone else.  However, because some of the guys from our year not only graduated from each of the colleges, but took different career paths, it is actually possible to meet someone from our year 40 years later that you had never met before.  Case in point, especially for the non-Navy guys, is Doug Poucher who graduated from Royal Roads in 1979 and spent 42 years in the service of his country.

Aside from dodging severe weather at sea, sometimes unsuccessfully, during numerous deployments on board HMCS Preserver, Protecteur, Annapolis and Huron, and serving on four operational tours in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Syria, he has left quite a mark on the Canadian Forces as a runner and triathlete.  This is all the more remarkable knowing how challenging it must be to keep up those skills while at sea.  He got his start in high school as a cross-country runner and track and field star athlete and followed that up at RRMC where again he excelled, not only on the cross-country team but also in setting in his 4th year a college record for the mile of 4 minutes and 37 seconds.   After graduation, and spending time at sea training, he started competing in the CF Nationals in running in 1984. He continued to do that for 14 years through to 1998.  In fact, he did so well at those competitions that he was selected to become a member of the inaugural CF Conseil International du Sport Militarie (CISM) running team in 1986.

doug at rrmc competing against usafa in 78/79

doug at rrmc competing against usafa in 78/79

He again qualified for the CISM team the next nine years. From 1986 to 1993 he competed against some of the best military runners from all over the world, at events not only in Canada and the US but also in Holland, Algeria, Tunisia, and Nigeria.  Although he was selected to the team in the last two years as well, in 1995 and 1996, for a total of ten years, his naval service aboard the HMCS Huron proved to be problematic in terms of being able to train and participate in races leading up to the CISM games. 

Then, when most guys would be thinking of hanging up the running shoes, he actually stepped it up a notch by competing nationally and internationally in the triathlon. Again he performed so well at the CF Nationals that he qualified for the CF CISM triathlon team, and competed internationally for another six years, from 2009 to 2014, from the ages of 53 to 58! Those events included one in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2012 and several at Point Mugu Air Station in California against some of the elite American forces triathletes.

Remarkably, he actually ran his first triathlon way back in 1980, only a couple of years after the first ever race was held in San Diego in 1974, the very first year this type of endurance event was conducted in Canada, so he was also an inaugural competitor in the inaugural Elk Lake triathlon in Victoria, BC.  Not surprisingly, there were only a handful of competitors, so it is possible he was last of those athletes who was still competing in 2014.  In fact, he had planned to enter the 2015 Elk Lake race but was prevented by some logistical issues and was then involved in a serious bike accident in 2016, which has put future races on hold.

All in all, a pretty remarkable military and athletic career.  

rrmc 1976 cross-country team - doug second from the right along with class of 79 mates marc de van der schueren (on the left), ted dillenberg (second from left) and reg best (to doug’s left)

rrmc 1976 cross-country team - doug second from the right along with class of 79 mates marc de van der schueren (on the left), ted dillenberg (second from left) and reg best (to doug’s left)

rounding a hairpin turn during one of eight laps of the cycling portion at lac leamy during the cf nationals

rounding a hairpin turn during one of eight laps of the cycling portion at lac leamy during the cf nationals

MGEn hood presenting doug with the gold medal for the men’s senior category (48 years and older) at the 2014 cf nationals where he had a time of 2 hours 22 minutes and 35 seconds for the olympic distance  photo Credit: cpl alana morin, CFSU(O)

MGEn hood presenting doug with the gold medal for the men’s senior category (48 years and older) at the 2014 cf nationals where he had a time of 2 hours 22 minutes and 35 seconds for the olympic distance

photo Credit: cpl alana morin, CFSU(O)