Helena Running Team Races to Strong Finish in Great Island 5K
NEW CASTLE, NH - Wearing their distinctive Helena Running Team race shirts, three members of Los Angeles class attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) fought through the cold and wind of the Great Island 5K to finish in the top five percent of the 1,200 runners and walkers in the 17th annual event held on Oct. 10.
Cmdr. Paul Dinius, Helena's Commanding Officer; Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Dave DiPietro, the Chief of the Boat (COB); and, Senior Chief Electronics Technician Anthony Torres, Assistant Navigator (ANAV) participated, wearing running shirts designed by the COB.
The 5K (3.1 miles) was the second to last race in the Seacoast Race Series, consisting of several 5Ks, an 8K and two 10Ks. Dinius finished 31st out of 1,145 runners and 8th out of 127 in the Men 40-49 category with a time of 18:57, a pace of 6:07 per mile. Dipietro was close behind, finishing 34th out of 1,145 runners and 9th out of 127 in the Men 40-49 category with a time of 19:03, a 6:09 pace. Torres, running in only his second official 5K ever, was 56th out of 1,145 runners and 11th out of 123 in the Men 30-39 category with a time of 20:09, a pace of 6:31 per mile.
"I love running in the cold and wind along the coast," breathed the COB at the finish line. Dipietro is a native of Swampscott, MA, and used to running in this weather.
"I need to get used to it," followed Torres. With orders to report to Commander, Submarine Group 2, Torres acknowledges the need to adjust to this climate.
Dinius commented that he was "just happy to be at a command with shipmates this passionate about fitness and showing pride in their Navy heritage." He went on to say that he only seriously started running a few years ago. With the help of the COB, a long-time runner, Dinius was able to improve his game. "I owe my improvements in running times to recommendations made by the COB over the past year," Dinius said.
Dinius has completed 5 of 7 Seacoast Race Series races and needs to complete the Great Bay 5K on Oct. 23 to earn a Seacoast Race Series achievement jacket. "These results are pretty good for two 40-year-olds and a 34 year-old," Dinius boasted.
Other runners on USS Helena include Lt.j.g. Timothy Rustico.
"For me, running is a daily commitment, which I balance with work and anaerobic training," Rustico said. "Running competitively is just a bonus," he added.
Rustico recently completed the Maine Marathon with a time of 3:30:07 for an 8:02 min/mile pace. He placed 147 out of 892 runners overall; 124 out of 539 men; and, 27 out of 75 men ages 20-29.
Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Aaron Urquhart was one of eight runners on Scott's Tots, a Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) Team, recently completing the 200-mile Reach the Beach relay race in 24 hours. Urquhart ran three legs totaling 22 miles.
"Running is a release for me and is my favorite way to stay in shape," commented Urquhart. "I saw competing in Reach the Beach as an opportunity to gauge my fitness relative to others as well as a chance for me to decompress."
As the outdoor racing season closes in the northeast with winter weather approaching, the Helena Running Team is preparing to shift to indoor treadmill work.
"One advantage of moving to Norfolk next year will be the opportunity for better year-round outdoor running weather" commented Dinius, "even though Maine and New Hampshire have been awesome."
Helena arrived at the shipyard on Sept. 2, 2009 for extended maintenance, including several system upgrades. Helena, named after Helena, Mont., is currently homeported in San Diego. She is projected to change homeports to Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va. this spring.
A native New Englander, DiPietro followed by saying "I love running up here in the northeast especially in the fall air with scenery you can only find in this area."
From top to bottom, Helena has been able to showcase a breadth of highly-fit individuals who have garnered a myriad of accolades for their hard work and inherent talent. With the command promoting fitness to the extent it has, the level of involvement in the fitness realm continues to grow.
Helena was commissioned on July 11, 1987. Her motto is "Proud and Fearless."