It takes great heart to be a marathon runner and to stride through the pain barrier over a distance of 42.2 kilometres – just ask Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Josh O’Hanlon and Petty Officer Marine Technician Paul Baker.
HMAS Kuttabul’s Petty Officer Baker and NUSHIP Canberra’s Leading Seaman O’Hanlon completed the New York City Marathon on 3 November, while raising almost $20,000 for the Heart Foundation of Australia.
Petty Officer Baker placed 20,249th in a time of 4:10:46, while Leading Seaman O’Hanlon completed the event in 3:27.03. Paul raised $9300 and Josh $7775.
The sailors were two of only 25 runners chosen to represent Australia’s heart charity in the world renowned event.
The experience is one they will not forget any time soon.
“The overall experience was amazing because there was an estimated 2.5 million people cheering us on along the whole course, including many bands and DJs,” said Petty Officer Baker.
Petty Officer Baker said he battled stomach pain and dizziness to finish his biggest ever race challenge.
“From about the 20km mark I battled a major belly problem caused by the energy gels and their high caffeine content,” he said.
“I trained with energy gels but had never had three in one session, which was obviously too much caffeine.
“I did not follow the runner’s golden rule – ‘nothing new on race day’.”
Leading Seaman O’Hanlon said he is delighted to have clocked under 3.5 hours.
“It was an amazing experience, because of the way the crowd supported all the competitors by cheering them and shouting words of encouragement,” he said.
“The excitement of the crowd certainly spurred me on to a good time.”
Leading Seaman O’Hanlon said he is happy that the $7750 he raised for the Heart Foundation will help fight cardiovascular disease, which claims one Australian life every 11 minutes.
Kerry Doyle, Heart Foundation Chief Executive – NSW, said by taking part in the New York Marathon, Leading Seaman O’Hanlon and Petty Officer Paul Baker had helped the Heart Foundation continue its lifesaving work.
“Leading Seaman O’Hanlon and Petty Officer Baker have also spread an important message about the benefits of being physically active to all Australians,” she said.