Eight divers from the Australian Defence Force Dive School at Sydney base HMAS Penguin have taken on a ‘hill of hurt’ obstacle course in the name of charity.
Part of the annual local ‘Balmoral Burn’ running event, each participant had to carry a sandbag up a steep hill and over an obstacle course that included water pipes, hurdles, barriers and a giant wall.
Awaba Street, Mosman is one of Sydney’s steepest streets, running 420 metres from Balmoral Beach up to Spit Road and at its steepest, the gradient is nearly 30 per cent higher than horizontal.
With more than 100 competitors signed up for the event, there were no guarantees as to how the divers would fare.
Rugby great, Phil Kearns, who started the Balmoral Burn in 2000 to raise money for children’s charity Humpty Dumpty foundation, fired the starter’s pistol.
While competitors were only required to carry the sandbags for the first three obstacles, a number of divers chose to take their sandbags all the way to the top of the hill.
Nearing the end of the course, five of the first 10 positions were filled by divers, with Navy divers first and third across the line.
Able Seaman Clearance Diver John De Noune took out the intense competition by about 10 meters, carrying the sandbag over the entire course.
“It just seemed to be a good idea at the time,” he said.
“At the beginning of the race I thought we were going to get smoked by the other competitors. A lot of them looked like they’d done a few ‘Tough Mudders’.
“I started out with some of the other boys at a medium pace and realised we were out in front. The crowd was pretty good and spurred us on with heaps of cheering. It was awesome!”
Four personnel from the Dive School competed in the ‘Balmoral Burn’ foot race in full dive suits.
Commanding Officer Penguin, Commander Ian Campbell attended the event and was on hand as the first prize was presented to Able Seaman De Noune by Mr Kearns.
“The Balmoral Burn is a fantastic event and we’re proud to get behind it. Volunteers from Penguin set up the obstacle course and were on hand to ensure the event was a success.”
“It was great to see our divers do so well, and their fitness is a credit to Petty Officer Physical Trainer Nathan Adamson,” Commander Campbell said.