HMAS Coonawarra recently held the 25th iteration of the Petras Memorial Trophy Cross Country race.
The trophy is named in honour of two former sailors, Garry and Sharyn Petras (husband and wife), who tragically died in a car accident while posted to the former Coonawarra, now Defence Establishment Berrimah, in 1989.
Friend of the Petras family, former HMAS Voyager survivor, HMAS Perth (II) commissioning crew member and Navy veteran, John ‘Tug’ Wilson, represented the family at the award presentation.
“It is great to see the Petras Memorial Trophy Cross Country race is still drawing a crowd some 25 years on,” Mr Wilson said.
The race was not held for five years while Coonawarra relocated from Berrimah to its present location on the waterfront, within the Larrakeyah Barracks complex.
Over 80 personnel, variously posted to Coonawarra, Headquarters Northern Command, NORFORCE, Patrol Boat Group Headquarters, the Health Centre, Patrol Boat crews and crew members from the visiting HMAS Perth (III) took part in the hilly course, dressed in various Defence unit PT attire. Even super heroes made an appearance and sweated it out in nylon customs.
Mr Wilson said he was honoured to see the Tri-Service representation at the cross country event.
‘Some things in the Navy stay the same, but it's great to see a change with all our Services working and training hard together,’ he said.
Navy Health again supported the event, providing prizes to the winners of the different divisions.
Taking out the men’s division was Gunner Williams, from the Transit Security Element embarked in Perth, while the first placed female was Able Seaman Jessica Fisher from Coonawarra. NORFORCE won the team prize.
The Commanding Officer of Perth, Captain Lee Goddard, took out the veterans division two hours prior to the ship sailing from Darwin.
Leading Seaman Physical Training Ben Cain organised the event and was happy with the turn out. ‘It was a very challenging course. Clearly the 80 plus runners are getting acclimatised to the dry season,’ Leading Seaman Cain said.