Distance is no object: the crew of replenishment ship Bonn run the Bonn half-marathon at sea

At sea, 18 April 2017
Real athletes are known for their fighting spirit, their ability to keep going even when their whole bodies are screaming in exhausted protest. Servicemen and -women gain that skill during their basic training if not before, as they learn alongside their peers and instructors to push themselves beyond their own limits. That determination to persevere in the face of all the odds was clearly in evidence on board the Bonn on 1 April, when seven runners came on deck for the half-marathon.

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(© Bundeswehr/Janine Pape)
The replenishment ship is currently taking part in the international Joint Warrior manoeuvre off the coast of Scotland. But there is of course always time to squeeze in a bit of exercise, and being at sea this year was not going to stop the keen runners on board doing their bit for the Bonn marathon. As arranged with the organisation team, seven runners had signed up as remote participants to complete their 21.1km on the top deck.

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(© Bundeswehr/Janno Niederlehner)
Since the manoeuvre was scheduled for Sunday, the day of the actual run in Bonn, the maritime offshoot was brought forward at short notice. At 17:00 shipboard time, or 18:00 German time, the seven runners set off on their 21-kilometre route in perfect sunshine, with only a light swell. Back in 2015, around twenty of the Bonn’s crew took part in the marathon. Five of them completed the full 42.195km; others, including the commanding officer, Commander Jobst Berg, ran in the relay.

Chief Petty Officer Andreas Westphal, keen triathlete and the Bonn’s sports rep., took part in 2015 and 2017, as did his crew mate Chief Petty Officer Benjamin Holderbaum. When they received their invitations to this year’s marathon from their vessel’s patron city, they did not hesitate for long: they accepted the challenge even with the additional adverse conditions of swell and exposure to wind and weather. They ran the 326-metre lap of the top deck together 65 times.

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(© Bundeswehr/Janno Niederlehner)
In the end, it is the youngest runner, a very happy Simon Gackstatter, who finishes first, in 1:41:18. “It’s harder work running on a surface that moves. But not everyone can say they’ve run a half-marathon at sea. It definitely floated my boat,” he grins.
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(© Bundeswehr/Janno Niederlehner)

This is the translation of an article by Janine Pape published on www.marine.de

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