Taking a stand - with a run for a cause

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Dave Devlin (author), LSIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer), ABAVN Susan Mossop (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Penguin, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Penguin, White Ribbon, White Ribbon Day

Royal Australian Navy officer Chaplain Richard Quadrio (left) and Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Miranda Walker (centre), lead the crowd in the White Ribbon oath at the Gate to Gate Fun Run at HMAS Penguin, Sydney. (photo: ABAVN Susan Mossop)
Royal Australian Navy officer Chaplain Richard Quadrio (left) and Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Miranda Walker (centre), lead the crowd in the White Ribbon oath at the Gate to Gate Fun Run at HMAS Penguin, Sydney.

Members from HMAS Penguin have joined forces with the NSW Police, Fire and Ambulance Services, along with other members of the local Mosman community, to mark White Ribbon Day. Nearly 250 runners, walkers and event support staff conducted an ‘I Swear’ ceremony prior to the start of the race. In making the oath the participants and spectators promised to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women in Australia.

Commanding Officer HMAS Penguin, Commander Mathew Bradley spoke of the importance of being associated with White Ribbon.

“Events like today are important not only for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but to demonstrate amongst our community that our Navy is a strong and inclusive workplace,” he said.

“When we make that attestation, we demonstrate our support to the one in five women who serve in Navy and to all women Australia wide that we are all committed to take a stand,” CMDR Bradley said.

The gate to gate event has its origins as a regular physical training session that all Navy divers would do to maintain higher levels of fitness. Its challenging course with steep inclines from the bottom gate to the top gate and back down again pushed the most fittest to their limits. Over the years, the course has adjusted to include the panoramic and rolling landscape of the Chowder Bay route and has taken on more of a fun run approach.

In keeping with those traditions, the students from Clearance Diver Class 87, ran the entire course carrying a 20 foot berthing hawser across their shoulders. This class is the first RAN Clearance Diver qualification course to contain female trainees.

The Gate to Gate race has always been contested in November and adopted its association with White Ribbon when the international campaign emerged in Australia. Since teaming up with White Ribbon the event has raised much needed funds to support a range of initiatives and awareness campaigns.

Penguin’s Physical Training Instructor Leading Seaman Mitch Morton said he was proud to be involved in organising an event that is such an integral part of the history of Penguin.

“Having such a large association with the local community makes this such a great event and to see it growing in its participation rate each year is just fantastic.

“The course is actually quite brutal, a couple of heartbreak hills and some broken souls but overall everyone has demonstrated a fantastic effort,” LS Morton said.

Now in its 40th year, the five kilometre course incorporates a panoramic and undulating route of the Balmoral scenery, starting from the ADF Dive School car park in Penguin, through Chowder Bay, across Georges Heights Oval and returning to Penguin to finish.

For more information on White Ribbon Organisation and visit www.whiteribbon.org.au.