For the second year running, members of 1st Health Battalion hit the streets of Darwin in their bright green shirts to compete in the City2Surf race.
CAPTION: Members of Australian Army 1st Health Battalion who competed in the 12.8km City2Surf in Darwin. Story by Corporal Melina Young.
The team of 20 ran with more than 2000 competitors in Darwin’s 50th anniversary event along the city’s foreshore.
Fashion on the field ranged from Mexican wrestling masks and cargo shorts with Dunlop runners to the latest running gear and everything in between.
Among the pacesetters in the 12.8km race was Army medic Private Danielle Thomas, who powered over the finish line in 59 minutes and 30 seconds as the 22nd woman and 140th overall.
Building up to the race, Private Thomas lost 17.5 kilograms post pregnancy, and worked with a physiotherapist.
However, she endured a series of unfortunate events.
“I did Run Army and got an excellent time, then I got a viral infection which kicked me in the guts and meant a pause in my training, so I didn’t think I would do that well,” Private Thomas said.
During a cricket game the Friday before the race, she was hit in the knee by the ball but thought she had escaped injury.
“It was about the second kilometre into the race when my knee started absolutely killing me,” she said.
“I was disappointed I couldn’t run to my full ability, but still happy with the time I got.”
Captain Ben Tribe, unit adjutant and keen runner, helped organise the community engagement activity that started on the esplanade at dusk, in cool weather with no wind.
“There was a really friendly atmosphere, with lots of spectators having a coffee and breakfast on their driveway cheering people on,” he said.
“I’ve run the Sydney event before, but this was still a really good run, although I did struggle with stairs the next day.”
A group of battalion volunteers manned a gazebo at the finish line with cold drinks, lollies and fruit for the unit, however, their well-stocked tables attracted the interest of other weary competitors.
“Inadvertently, we ended up providing for the event,” Captain Tribe said.
“It wasn’t the plan, but we weren’t going to say to them ‘no, you’ve just run 12.8 kilometres, you can’t have a slice of watermelon’.”
The track followed the coastline, up two short sharp hills, finishing at the Nightcliff foreshore.
Commanding Officer 1st Health Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Trent Kirk attended to cheer everyone at the finish line.
“Army and Defence are a proud part of the local community here in the Top End, and participation in these types of events reinforces the role of Army in the community,” Lieutenant Colonel Kirk said.
“It’s also great for our people to have the opportunity to be involved in community activities, particularly in the dry season and ahead of a demanding training and operational schedule.”