Conquering the mental marathon

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (author), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Perth, Western Australia

HMAS Stirling members and their families after completing the 41st annual Chevron City to Surf for Activ Race, in Perth. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)
HMAS Stirling members and their families after completing the 41st annual Chevron City to Surf for Activ Race, in Perth.

On Sunday 30 August, 33 members from HMAS Stirling took part in the 41st annual Chevron City to Surf for Activ Race in Perth, Western Australia.

Despite the 40 per cent chance of rain, approximately 44,000 people turned out to participate in Western Australia’s largest community event, and fortunately for the runners, the rain didn’t.

Among the crowd was seasoned competitor, Commander Submarine Force Captain Matt Buckley who finished the gruelling 42km marathon in 3 hours, 35 minutes - 10 minutes ahead of his previous personal best.

“Crossing the finish line is a huge rush every time and a great sense of personal achievement,” Captain Buckley said.

“Endurance sports are a great way to test your resilience; in essence you are racing against yourself and as such it doesn't really matter if you are a sub-elite runner, a 'mid-packer' or a novice participating for the first time. It is striving to be the best you can be that's important.

“It has been great to see our people out here challenging themselves, be it the 4km, 12km, half or full marathon,” he said.

First time marathon competitor, Seaman Jared Byrnes, crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 58 minutes.

Seaman Byrnes followed a training program in preparation for the event.

“Since joining Navy, my fitness has definitely improved and I feel very fortunate to be able to train and compete as a part of my job,” Seaman Byrnes said.

“I found at the 36km mark that it is not about your cardio level or the amount of physical training you do, when it comes to finishing the race.  It is about how you deal with the muscle fatigue and cramping. It is very much a mental marathon," he said.

Both Captain Buckley and Seaman Byrnes are members of the Navy Running Association.

“The fact that the Navy Running Association supports many of these events by covering entry fees and funding clinics, means that there is really no reason not to give it a go,” Captain Buckley said.

The Navy Running Association aims to promote the sport of running within the Navy community and encourage all Navy personnel to challenge themselves in athletic pursuits. At the same time, they also seek to provide a safe environment where runners can enjoy themselves and generate esprit de corps.

For more information on the Navy Running Association, go to: