U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (Feb. 13, 2017) -- Sailors and Marines deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) participated in a half-marathon on the ship’s flight deck, Feb. 13, to commemorate the halfway point of their 7-month deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
The ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team hosted the event, and more than 130 Sailors and Marines took part in the run, completing 42 laps around the ship’s 847-foot flight deck in order to reach the 13.1-mile goal.
Ensign Kayla Inouye said she was excited to hear about the event, and she was one of several runners who began preparing weeks in advance for her first half-marathon. "I saw it as the perfect opportunity to start training for my self-betterment," she said.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Chief Petty Officer Fernando Diaz, Makin Island’s flight deck Leading Chief Petty Officer and MWR staff member, explained that careful planning went into making the half-marathon a possibility and to make sure the event did not interfere with the ship’s operations. “Several aircraft had to be repositioned in order to provide a clear and safe area for the runners. It took the entire air department, the whole MWR team, and several volunteers to make it such a successful event.”
The run also served as a qualifying event for those interested in participating in a full marathon which MWR intends to host mid-April, as the ship makes the return trip to its homeport in San Diego, Calif. All Sailors and Marines who completed the half-marathon in less than 2:30 – an average pace of about 11.5 minutes-per-mile – secured a spot on the roster for the full marathon.
Lt. Larry Clemente placed second in the half-marathon and is looking forward to the upcoming 26-miler. "Running any marathon is a challenge, so doing one on the flight deck of our ship on deployment adds to the prestige and accomplishment."
Makin Island’s Executive Officer Capt. Dave Oden also completed the Makin Island “Halfway at the Halfway.” “Hosting such an event is a great way to harness crew morale, as we are still a few months away from returning home,” he said. “It also allows Sailors and Marines to strive for personal goals and give their minds a break from the constant working environment.”
Makin Island, the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, while preserving freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the area.