HMAS Penguin runners go gate to gate for Keeping Watch

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Geoff Long (author), ABIS Thomas Sawtell (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Penguin, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Penguin, Keeping Watch, RAN Relief Trust Fund

Runners starting the 41st annual HMAS Penguin Keeping Watch Gate to Gate Fun Run/Walk at Mosman, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Thomas Sawtell)
Runners starting the 41st annual HMAS Penguin Keeping Watch Gate to Gate Fun Run/Walk at Mosman, Sydney.

A record 280 runners and power walkers turned out for the 41st annual HMAS Penguin Gate to Gate charity fun run on the shores of Middle Harbour in Sydney.

The event raised more than $550 for Keeping Watch, an organisation which supports Navy people and their families in times of need.

Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Cameron Clark said this year’s event had attracted Navy personnel as well as participants from emergency services, including fire fighters, police officers and paramedics, many from the nearby local commands in Mosman and the North Shore.

Leading Seaman Clark said numbers had also been boosted by the addition of a teams event for the first time, where groups of four could complete the event together.

The challenging 5km course has a long history within Navy’s Clearance Diving community.

“The course has always been a challenge with its steep incline, which made it ideal for clearance divers wanting to remain at a high level of fitness,” Leading Seaman Clark said.

The Gate to Gate route also involves running around Chowder Bay, making it one of the most scenic courses for running. The undulating route starts from HMAS Penguin, through Chowder Bay, across Georges Heights Oval and finishes back at HMAS Penguin.

HMAS Penguin’s acting Commanding Officer, Commander Peter Thompson, said that the race had come a long way from its roots as a training exercise for the Royal Australian Navy Diving School.

“The annual event is a festive occasion that aids in the development of health, fitness and mateship, while also contributing to charities. The event is open to all Australian Defence Force members as well as local emergency services personnel,” Commander Thompson said.

In her opening remarks to participants ahead of the event, Commander Christina Ween, Deputy Chair of both the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund and Keeping Watch, noted that the charity in the last financial year alone had provided $60,000 in support to Royal Australian Navy members in need.

“The Gate to Gate is a great initiative and the support provided to Keeping Watch is something that the participants can be proud of.

“It’s a reminder that we all need to care for one another, both on and off duty,” Commander Ween said.

Keeping Watch was established by the Trustees of the RAN Relief Trust Fund in 2013 as an additional mechanism through which the Trustees could provide for the comfort, recreation or welfare of a person who is currently a member of the Royal Australian Navy, whether permanent or reserve.

This year’s open and female category winner was Seaman Kate Sammon from the Maritime Geospatial Warfare Centre, and in the men’s division it was Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer Lieutenant Thomas Burns-Wallace. The inaugural teams event was won by HMAS Penguin Command.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20193028.