SAN DIEGO – A group of Sailors assigned to the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) laced up their running shoes and formed two teams to participate in the 2015 Ragnar Relay So-Cal Race from Huntington Beach, California to San Diego, April 10-11.
Ragnar is the largest overnight relay series in the United States where teams comprised of either 6 or 12 team members run a 200 mile relay over two days and one night for charity.
“Where’re We Running” was the name of Chancellorsville’s 12-man team comprised of Lt. j.g. Heather Driscoll, Lt. j.g John Welsh, Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jack Hills, Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jose Huerta, Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Scott Tolman, Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Samuel Ramada, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW) Cory Slocum, Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Mercy Yamomo, Culinary Specialist Seaman Javier Chairez, Hospitalman Tristian Kraus, and Culinary Specialist Seaman Brook Lohse.
Huerta, the team’s captain, said he was proud he was of his team and particularly wanted to give praise to the efforts of Seaman Chairez who ran the longest and hardest leg of the completion, a 12.1 mile trail categorized as “very difficult.”
"I couldn’t be happier with my team,” said Huerta. “‘Where’re We Running’ is a diverse group of runners ranging from elite athletes to recreational runners looking for a challenge.”
Huerta said Chairez definitely impressed us all by taking on the most difficult part of the relay when one of our original team members no longer was able to compete.
“He really came through for us,” said Huerta. “In fact, every member of the team successfully completed their legs and we were able to finish the race in 28 hours!
Huerta said 28 hours was two hours less than the team ran in last year’s race.
“It was quite the challenge, but the feeling of accomplishment when we crossed that finish line was well worth it,” added Huerta.
Chancellorsville’s second team was called “The Ultra Goats” and was comprised of six chief petty officers. Members of the team were Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) (SW/AW) Steve Boss, Senior Chief Electronics Technician (SW/AW) Price Dodsom, Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/FMF) Stan Kaneshiro, Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Pedro Lopez, Senior Chief Fire Controlman (SW/SS) Chris Moore, and Chief Information Systems Technician (SW) Will Giacomaro.
"Last year ‘The Ultra Goats’ participated in the Ragnar race and had 12 team members,” said Boss, the team’s captain. “This year we decided to be an ‘Ultra’ team and complete the 200 miles with half as many runners.”
Boss said the team made the decision to use six runners instead of 12 because they really wanted to push their limits.
“Doing 200 miles with only six runners was truly a team building experience as we relied on each runner to complete their assigned leg,” said Boss. “If you could not finish your leg another team member would have to run even further to cover for those miles. We were not going to let each other down. So no matter how tired we all got, quitting was not an option for The Ultra Goats.”
Boss aid the most miles covered by one runner was 37 miles and the fewest miles ran by one runner was 27 miles. Due to the determination and perseverance of each team member, The Ultra goats we were able to finish the race in 33 hours.
"I cannot express how great it was to have two teams participate in the Ragnar SoCal Race,” said Chancellorsville Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Jonas Carter. “To the Sailors who ran the relay and to their friends and family members who volunteered and supported the two teams during their training and the two day event - You all truly made Chancellorsville proud!”
Proceeds from this year’s Ragnar race helped contribute to various organizations dedicated to preventing and aiding children who are victims of abusive households.
Chancellorsville is currently homeported at Naval Base San Diego where the crew is currently making preparations to execute a homeport shift to Yokosuka, Japan later this year.