Relay for Lockdown

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Dave Devlin (author), POIS Nina Fogliani (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cerberus, VIC

Topic(s): HMAS Cerberus, Health, Fitness and Wellbeing, McCarthy Cup

Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Robert Pope checking the times during the ‘Relay for Lockdown’ fitness challenge  at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria. (photo: POIS Nina Fogliani)
Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Robert Pope checking the times during the ‘Relay for Lockdown’ fitness challenge at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.

Embracing the use of available technology has assisted the Sport and Recreation team at HMAS Cerberus, to plan and hold specific events in a COVID-safe and socially distanced environment.

Recently, the ‘Relay for Lockdown’ fitness challenge took place, where teams from each of the training schools and base faculties competed in a 10-hour running event, with the aim to travel the furthest collective distance and earn points towards the annual McCarthy Cup.

The McCarthy Cup is a perpetual award, where the different training schools and base faculties earn points in a series of fitness, health and wellbeing challenges throughout the year.

To help monitor each competitor, and to meet the requirements of physical distancing throughout the event, organisers used the smartphone application ‘Strava’.

‘Strava’ uses GPS enabled devices to track and record fitness activities like running and cycling. It also allows for multi competitor events such as marathons or group bike rides to be registered and provide both individual and group achievements.

Event organiser, Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Louis Tanner, highlighted that precise planning and adaptability were of the utmost importance to keep the event within state government guidelines.

“Participating in competitive team-based challenges has many social, physical and mental health benefits,” Leading Seaman Tanner said.

“We planned this event as an enjoyable occasion that aligned with social distancing and hygiene regulations and gave our personnel the chance to develop and maintain their fitness, resilience and increased mental health awareness.”

In total, 11 teams covered 1519 kilometres throughout the 10-hour event, with the winning team on the day, the Boatswain Faculty, achieving a total distance of 171.9 kilometres.

Teams from the Marine Engineering School and the Defence Force School of Signals - Maritime Wing finished in second and third place.

Team captain for the Defence Force School of Signals - Maritime Wing, Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Liam Bromley, spoke of how enjoyable it was to be able to compete in the event.

“It was great to see so many people of varying ages, trainees and staff, participating in a team running event,” Able Seaman Bromley said.

“This was an excellent event to be a part of and great to see smiles on people’s faces after a tough few months here in Victoria”.

Cerberus provides training for all three services with approximately 6000 Navy, Army and Air Force personnel undergoing training annually, and supported by up to 800 instructors, admin and support staff. There are around 1800 people at the base at any time.

The global pandemic and imposed restrictions have seen the establishment adapt to newly introduced Cohort-Distanced training, allowing us to continually prepare future forces for the Royal Australian Navy.

Commanding Officer Cerberus, Captain Mike Oborn said being adaptable to changing circumstances is a trait often experienced by Australian Defence Force personnel.

“I am very proud of the team here at Cerberus, whose professional approach has been able to adapt and deliver all training outcomes in a controlled, safe and socially distanced environment,” Captain Oborn said.

“Events such as this particular team challenge reminds us that we can select certain activities that keep us moving forward, and then adapt them to be safe, fun and support our own and each other’s mental health needs.”