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SPIT POLISHED PRESENTATIONS
June 21, 2012
brings mixed news
to US run
SIX days after having surgery
to replace his pacemaker, SGT
Lance Purdon opened an email that
informed him he had won a place
in the Minneapolis marathon on
The race is sponsored by pace-
maker manufacturer Medtronic,
which invited pacemaker patients all
around the world to apply under its
Global Heroes program.
SGT Purdon was among more
than 200 applicants -- but only 24
"This program is more than run-
ning the marathon," the email from
"It's an exclamation of full life.
Your accomplishments stand as an
inspiration to others.
"We look forward to meeting you,
and sharing your accomplishments
with thousands of other running
SGT Purdon used to be captain
of the Air Force Australian football
team, and played for the ADF com-
But he fell sick in 2003 and was
referred to a cardiologist who diag-
nosed him with sick sinus syndrome
and third-degree heart block.
On the day after his 31st birthday,
he had a pacemaker implanted.
"Football was a huge part of my
life, and I was told that I would never
play any contact sport again in my
life," SGT Purdon said.
"Little did the experts know that
I was a very determined person who
didn't like taking no for an answer.
"I defied the odds and was told
that I could play football again in
2006, and did so for one more final
season before retiring at the end of
In October 2006 he met his future
wife, Jodie Barker, a renowned run-
ner and triathlete.
"Our first official date was an
11km run at lunchtime where we
both worked. For Jodie this was just a
standard lunchtime run, but for me it
was a lot more.
' ONE OF OUR BEST: LAC Brenton Leipper comes to grips with one of
his New Zealand rivals.
Photos: Ash Brennan
TEAMWORK: LAC Chris Rafter, left, and CPL Frank Scrimshaw work
together to stop an opponent.
SGT Lance Purdon.
"My life has been
improved by medical
technology as I live each
day like it is my last.
"I have a hunger to
do well and I like show-
ing people that having
device is not a hin-
"I was told I couldn't
play any contact sports.
So to fuel my competi-
tive nature I needed to
do something. Running
and triathlon was the
"Not only have I
started to get better with
having my pacemaker,
I have learnt a lot from
listening and learning
about how to run and
to listen to my body. I
had never ever thought
in my wildest dreams
that I could ever run a
"I believe I can, and
do, inspire people to get
out and about and do
their best. It's not always
"The following sen-
tence is what I live my
life by 'You don't know
what you have until you
"I pulled up pretty sore the next
day."It was not long before SGT Purdon
got serious about running though.
He started with a 6.7km fun run.
Seven months after taking up the sport,
he ran his first marathon -- clocking 3hr
16min 15sec for the 42.2km.
"I was quite proud of my achieve-
ment but I wanted to go faster," he
"In July 2010 I raced in the Gold
Coast marathon and achieved a time
"I was on cloud nine with this
result, a sub three-hour marathon."
He also completed two ironman
triathlons in New Zealand and has
a burning desire to compete in the
pinnacle of ironman triathlons, the
"The only way I will achieve this
is by winning a spot in the lottery, as
I am nowhere near good enough to
qualify in my age group.
"I have paid my $100 for the past
three years, hoping that I get a spot.
"It would have been great to have
raced on the same day as my wife last
year after our wedding; however it
wasn't to be."
But first things first. Minneapolis
SGT Purdon's pacemaker opera-
tion came on May 29 and it was rou-
tine maintenance rather than any sign
of a new problem.
Nine days later, despite his
stitches not yet having dissolved,
SGT Purdon was back training at
the Australian Institute of Sport in
Canberra -- eight 800-
metre runs with two min-
utes' rest between each.
Four days after that
he lined up in the Sri
in Canberra and was
ecstatic with his time of
1:25.41, which was just
more than two minutes
short of the best time he
has recorded for that dis-
His focus now is on
the Gold Coast marathon
which starts on July 1.
That race incorporates
the ADF marathon title.
It's an exclamation
of full life. Your
stand as an
-- the Global Heroes email
THE Air Force was unable to wrest the
Burns-Merz Trophy from Royal New
Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in Auckland
in late May. RNZAF won 27- 9.
Air Force's best players included
CPL Frank Scrimshaw (36SQN), LAC
Zac Studders (37SQN), LAC Brenton
Leipper (76SQN) and LAC Zane Puna,
who was also voted player of the day by
In better news for Air Force rugby,
six of our players have been named in
the Australian Services Rugby Union
women's squad that will tour Britain
in October. They are FLTLT Margie
Quinn, FLGOFF Kaitlyn O'Brien, OCDT
Sarah Hume, CPL Brooke Saunders,
CPL Rebekah Allen, and LACW Lucinda
The women were selected following
the ASRU-W Warriors' 0-14 loss to the
British Army women's team at Sydney's
Victoria Barracks on May 24.
The Warriors had some early scor-
ing opportunities in that match but
lost possession at critical times, while
the visitors scored two converted tries
against the run of play.
The RAAF Mirages veterans rugby
team will play the ACT Veterans
Rugby Club for the Northrop
Grumman Cup in a charity match
at Portsea Oval, RMC Duntroon, on
July 22. Anyone 35 or over who is
interested in playing should contact
WGCDR Gavin Small, gavin.small@
defence.gov.au by July 6.
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