Naval Air Station Rota, Spain --
Marines, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, and sailors, with USS Bataan, participated in an end-of-deployment fun run aboard Naval Air Station Rota, Spain, Jan. 17, 2012.
Over 100 participants ran in a 5-kilometer race, a 10-kilomter race or a half marathon.
“It was fun, it was a good idea,” said Master Sgt. Scott Perry, the operations chief with Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd MEU, and Lindenhurst, N.Y., native, who ran the 10-kilometer race. “We ran at the 3 month marker, 4th of July, halfway, holiday runs, and now the end marker. So it was kind of neat, and it was so nice that it was on land this time.”
Runners of all different skill levels participated to test how they have advanced, physically, over the 10-month deployment.
The winner of the half-marathon, Sgt. Thomas Kunish, a contracting Noncommisioned Officer with the 22nd MEU Command Element and Tallahassee, Fla., native, finished the 13.1 miles in an hour and ten minutes.
“I haven’t raced in over a year and I wanted to check my fitness level,” said Kunish. “They did a very good job coordinating it. It was fantastic; I’ve been training all deployment to run fast and this is the fastest I’ve ran a half marathon.”
The event was coordinated by Marines aboard USS Bataan and the fitness coordinator for NAS Rota, Stephanie Whipple. Whipple says this is the first time a ship requested running courses.
“We’re just glad we were able to welcome the ship,” said Whipple. “We’d do anything for the fleet; we appreciate what you do and want to pay back.”
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group. The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.