Truman Sailors Put Fitness to Test During Wilderness Challenge

Story Number: NNS081104-08Release Date: 11/4/2008 6:32:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Damian Martinez, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYRD, PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) participated in the Navy's Wilderness Challenge Oct. 4-6.

The Wilderness Challenge, which is held annually, is sponsored by the Navy Mid-Atlantic region Morale, Welfare and Recreation. The event is held in West Virginia in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and on the New and Gauley Rivers.

Each military branch has a presence at the event and competes against each other. Participants have to be active duty or retired military. The competition is intense, according to participants.

"There are usually about eight teams that are really crazy into it, training all year for it," said Legalman 3rd Class (AW/NAC) Rosemary Cronin, a participant from Truman's Legal department.

She said training for such events gives people who enjoy fitness a visible goal to achieve.

"When you find something to do, it can motivate you, and when you do complete something like [this challenge] it makes you want to push yourself harder. Personally that's why I race," said Cronin. "You feel a sense of completion or satisfaction that you could challenge yourself and complete it."

The event presents stumbling blocks along the way and sometimes pulling together to help someone out can be just as frustrating as a working environment. Team camaraderie is important to receiving ranking in the Wilderness Challenge. Competitors still have to pull through by setting differences aside and keeping their eyes on the prize.

"It was definitely challenging. We had to get through a lot of obstacles between the teams and the individual people we competed with," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Romeo Caballero from Weapons department's G-3 division. "For me it was more of a lifestyle. I like doing that sort of stuff, plus being around all the competitiveness ramps you up."

The competition itself consists of a number of events stretched out over the course of three days, starting out with briefs held for all the participants prior to being bussed over to the actual site of the event.

Day one started with an 8K run and white water rafting.

Day two started with a 14-mile mountain bike ride, followed by a seven-mile kayak race. The kayaking takes about two hours and then participants get a 30 to 40-minute break and end it all with a half-marathon.

"It's challenging to say the least," said Cronin.

Some say events such as the Wilderness Challenge are a good way Sailors can stay fit, challenge themselves and meet other people with the same interests.

"As a team we all bonded, even though we had our differences. It made us that much stronger," said Caballero.

It is never too early to think about the future and set goals that will help achieve a sense of accomplishment.

"The advice I'd give for people trying to get ready for next year would be to stick to it. Don't just show up there," said Caballero. "You definitely need to get physically and mentally ready for the Wilderness Challenge. Build up your stamina, be confident and just have fun."

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Teams race down the New River Gorge in inflatable kayacks called duckies, during the one of six challenges that took place in the sixth annual Wilderness Challenge.
061007-N-1928H-119 Fayetteville, W.Va. (Oct. 7, 2006) - Teams race down the New River Gorge in inflatable kayacks called "duckies," during the one of six challenges that took place in the sixth annual Wilderness Challenge. Military teams from all branches of service compete in various events such as 8K mountain run, 13 mile whitewater raft race, 1/2 mile swim, 7 mile duckie race, 10-mile mountain bike, and 14 mile mountain hike for the coveted trophy of best competitive military team. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Santos Huante RELEASED)
October 12, 2006
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