Members of NUSQN 725 took time out of their busy schedules to participate in the USA National 15km Running Championships in Jacksonville, Florida on 15 March. The running group comprised of maintenance staff and aircrew members and was lead by the Commanding Officer, Commander David Frost and the Squadron Warrant Officer, Darren Murray.
The run, known locally as the Gate River Run, begins at Everbank Stadium, home of the famous Jacksonville Jaguars National Football League (NFL) team in downtown Jacksonville. It then meanders through 15 kilometres of streets and suburbs adjacent to the picturesque St Johns River, before the final hurdle of the Hart Bridge. After conquering the bridge, the final leg of the run is back to Everbank Stadium.
“The entire run was jammed packed with activities, from the live bands playing on the side of the street to the encouragement given by the locals that gathered along the walkways throughout the run,” said participant, Petty Officer Grant Rogers.
“Due to this hive of activity, the run only felt like it took half an hour, when it really was finished in just short of two. Although Hart bridge was a bit of a killer, everyone pulled together and we managed to get each other to the top without reverting to a walk,” he said.
Post race events included live music, a running expo and family friendly festivities. All those who ran completed the event, with a number of Squadron runners finishing just outside the times of the front markers and professional athletes that were competing.
“Not being a long distance runner, it was an achievement to finish the 15km, all the while, being encouraged by my workmates to keep running the entire way,” Leading Seaman Celeste Bowie said.
“As much as it hurt to run uphill on Hart bridge, seeing Everbank Stadium and the finish line on the downhill run with my mates pushing me on was what got me to the end,” she said.
A total of 15,000 competitors ran in the event. The members of NUSQN 725 who participated were joined by runners from all over the USA and a around the world. The event also had a family atmosphere with at least three Navy wives joining the run with their partners.
NUSQN 725 is due to return to Australia and commence operations from HMAS Albatross in December this year.