ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Eight runners from Naval Station Rota and 42 others participated in the second annual International 'Rock of Gibraltar' Mountain Race May 29.
The competitors ran over paved surfaces with steep inclines and descents, with the men racing 11.8 kilometers and the women racing 8.2 kilometers.
The team leader for Team Rota was excited about the event before she even left.
"I saw it posted at the gym that it was a chance to run someplace different in Spain with runners from all over the world," said Sandy McMurtry. "It was an honor to get on the list of the people who were going to represent Rota and America at this international race."
While traveling to the race, sightseeing was definitely on the agenda, according to McMurtry.
"It's beautiful there," she said.
McMurtry also looked forward to meeting some of the competition.
"Some of the other runners are really good, and they've probably had more training in mountain running, especially the ones from Gibraltar. Those of us who live in Rota, even if we put in the miles, are not used to that kind of terrain. If I were to make a friend with somebody from a different country, it would be interesting to find out how they train. So it will be fun to be around people who are truly good athletes," she said in anticipation of the race.
The top winners for Team Rota were Lt. John Kriegsman from Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 2 with 16th place of the men's competition and McMurtry, a VQ-2 spouse, who came in 10th place in the women's.
"[The other teams] got very competitive during the race and ran faster than imaginable," said Lt. Cmdr. Steve Sprague, a team member. "We had a good time together."
"The team did really well," said Lt. Cmdr. Adrian Rowe, another member of the Rota Team. "Everyone finished, and no one got injured. That counts as a win in my book."
Rowe ran the Gibraltar race last year, and found it an improved overall experience.
"Last year, it was really hot and this year it was overcast, which made the run a little easier. Also, the race was better organized this year," he said.
McMurtry's motivation for going on this trip was mostly the challenge, she said.
"We don't have those kinds of opportunities here. The idea of taking your running one step further, and then doing it with a group of people - it just sounded like a lot of fun.
"People need to look for opportunities like this one to go out and represent Rota and the Americans here. Even if it's something that you're not used to doing, get up and get out and find a way to do it.
"Don't be intimidated," said Rowe. "You can do it. The only person that cares about your time is you. Go out there and enjoy yourself. It's supposed to be fun."
For related news, visit the Naval Station Rota, Spain Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/rota/.