Running for their lives

Chasing endorphins and the competitors ahead, one Army runner finished first in her age group and 10th overall out of 2900 women during the Run Melbourne 10km event on July 16.

CAPTIONAustralian Army officer Major Dee-Ann Jackson after winning the 10km run in her age group, at Run Melbourne. Story by Sergeant Matthew Bickerton.

Major Dee-Ann Jackson had run a cross-country race the day before, so planned a relaxed approach to the 10km event.

“I think that’s why I ended up running pretty well; there was no pressure,” she said.

Major Jackson has been a member of the ADF Running and Athletics Association for her entire Army career of more than two decades.

As a teenager, she represented Western Australia at the state championships and started in sprinting events before moving on to longer distances as she got older.

Last year, she finished a master’s degree, which took time away from her usual running.

Since then, she spent four months getting back to speed and ran in the Gold Coast 10km, where she also finished first in her age group.

“I hope to build on the four months training I’ve done and get my times down to prepare for another Melbourne run coming up,” Major Jackson said.

Another runner, Chaplain Darren Cronshaw, ran in the half-marathon and placed in the top 10 per cent of almost 4000 runners.

Competing in the 50 to 59 age group, Chaplain Cronshaw finished in just under 90 minutes.

Chaplain Cronshaw wasn’t always a runner. He decided 10 years ago he didn’t want to be a workaholic for the rest of his life and looked for a sport.

“I tried indoor cricket, but my hand-eye coordination is pretty poor,” he said.

“I’d never get many runs or catch the ball. So, the only enjoyment I got was hanging out with my mates.”

Afterwards, while travelling, he saw a marathon and thought he’d like to give it a go.

He joined a triathlon club that same year and discovered that he loved endurance sports, which he’s been doing for the past eight years.

Major Jackson and Chaplain Cronshaw said they run not just for the physical fitness, but the mental benefits.

“It gives me a sense of space away from work, connection with other people, and be in creation, with God, in the moment,” Chaplain Cronshaw said.

Major Jackson said it was a good way to take time for herself.

“The stresses of life, what you’re dealing with, subside,” she said.

CAPTIONAustralian Army’s Chaplain Darren Cronshaw, and Majors Mick Lee and Leanne Richford at the Run Melbourne event.


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