Birdies pound the pavement in famous Aussie footrace

Published on LEUT Simon Machin (author), Mrs Patricia Machin (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, NSW, Bondi Beach, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross, Charities, Fundraising & Community, Running

Runners from the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit at HMAS Albatross, prior to their participation in the 2019 City2Surf. L-R: Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Benjamin King; Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Carl Stewart; Lieutenant Simon Machin; Lieutenant Michael Azoury; Lieutenant Alister Auld; and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Broadbent, at Hyde Park, Sydney. (photo: )
Runners from the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit at HMAS Albatross, prior to their participation in the 2019 City2Surf. L-R: Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Benjamin King; Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Carl Stewart; Lieutenant Simon Machin; Lieutenant Michael Azoury; Lieutenant Alister Auld; and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Broadbent, at Hyde Park, Sydney.

More than 84,000 people participated in the City2Surf race in Sydney in August, resulting in a sell-out crowd for the organisers of the annual running event.

The event consisted of a 14 kilometre run from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach.

In near perfect weather conditions that were perhaps a little bit cold for some, a team from the Royal Australian Navy’s Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit (AMAFTU) arrived at the starting line.

While running through the streets of Sydney, the Navy Aviators enjoyed the party-like atmosphere created by bands playing and people cheering words of encouragement along every kilometre of the course.

AMAFTU, which is based at HMAS Albatross - the home of Navy Aviation - entered the team into Sydney’s most famous footrace to help build esprit de corps amongst members of the unit.

Able Seaman Aircraft Technician Airframes Benjamin King took on the responsibility of coordinating the group’s involvement.

In the lead up to the event, the group got together for weekly training runs.

The team also used the event to raise money for the local Headspace centre, raising a total of $1600 for the youth mental health foundation.

Headspace provides support services to 12-25 year olds in areas of mental and physical health through drop in centres and help lines.

Chief Petty Officer Aircraft Technician Airframes Carl Stewart said he enjoyed the City2Surf experience.

“It was a totally challenging and demanding experience in an amazing location with such a great vibe, entertainment and public enthusiasm. 

“It was a great motivator for all of our AMAFTU runners and I’m very keen to be part of it again,” Chief Petty Officer Stewart said.

Able Seaman King summed up the team’s experience in the hilly running event in just a few words.

“AMAFU were in the right Headspace,” he said.