Home' Air Force News : March 14th 2013 Contents 19
March 14, 2013
Paralympic Trials haul
Edinburgh event a
WHEN RAAF Base Edinburgh
opened its runway to a field of fun-
runners and walkers on February 22,
organisers were left to rethink their
strategy of inviting a group of sol-
diers who ran away with the spoils
on the day.
The inaugural RAAF Base
Edinburgh Runway Fun Run/Walk,
hosted by 453SQN, attracted more
than 400 participants in a 4.6km run.
The course started with a straight
stretch of 2.4km along the runway,
which most people would never have
seen up close.
453SQN Edinburgh Flight
Commander SQNLDR Trevor
Langford said there was an impres-
"In fact, the turnout was so large
that the 45-seat coach organised to
take participants to the start line on
the runway was insufficient, so a
light 1.2km 'warm up' was included
for those eager enough," SQNLDR
"The 2.4km straight proved to be
daunting for some, and for others a
little misleading, as they took off like
rabbits for the finish line only to real-
ise shortly after that the line did not
appear to be as close as it looked."
The healthy Army presence
included a 30-man team from 102
Coral Battery, which completed
the run together as a troop wearing
DPCUs and in patrol order.
The base PTIs were on hand to
help out, and assisted the runners and
walkers from the comfort of their
pushbikes, giving encouragement to
all. Entrants were also provided with
their 2.4km time to help with their
PFT training, as well as the final time
Spr Jack Armstrong, of 9 Fd Sqn,
recorded the fastest 2.4km time of
8min 36sec by. He also managed
second overall for the 4.6km.
Pte Ben McIntyre, of 7RAR, was
the overall winner in 17min 08sec.
The fastest Air Force member
for the 2.4km was FLTLT Thomas
Colborne, of 92WG, with 8min
FLGOFF Jack Marshall, of
24SQN, was quickest for Air Force in
the 4.6km run with 18min 26sec.
Entrants enjoyed a barbecue
breakfast on completion of the event
-- at least those who were able to eat
after the gruelling challenge.
SQNLDR Langford said that fol-
lowing the interest in the inaugural
fun run/walk, another was being
planned, and may even include a bet-
ter prize for winning.
"Although receiving a 'high
five' from the PTIs was still a proud
moment for the winners," he said.
"Clearly Air Force will have to
lift its game, or neglect to invite the
Army if we intend to win next time."
AIR Force athlete FSGT Tony Benfer
has added more gold medals to his
impressive tally at the US Marine
Corps' Paralympic Trials at Camp
Pendleton in the US.
At the time of going to print,
FSGT Benfer had won four gold
medals in the trials -- which began on
February 20 -- in the 50m and 100m
freestyle, 50m backstroke and wheel-
He was competing alongside fel-
low RAAF athletes FLTLT Bruce
Lowth, of 27SQN, and FSGT Steve
Hayes, of 5 Aviation Regiment, who
made their debut in the trials this
FLTLT Lowth and FSGT Hayes
performed strongly in a range of
events including cycling, swimming,
volleyball, pistol shooting and the
Eight Army soldiers also com-
peted in the ADF team, which is part
of the Exercise Wounded Warrior
Program, run by the ADF Paralympic
Sports Program (ADFPSP).
The team included amputees and
a double amputee, as well as several
members who had experienced trau-
matic brain injury and other service-
FSGT Benfer won six gold med-
als in the past two Paralympic Trials.
"I just love winning gold medals
and showing the Yanks how good we
Aussies are," FSGT Benfer said.
Last year, he overcame scores of
international competitors to win gold
in the 50m and 100m freestyle, and
the 50m backstroke, while snaring
silver in the 4x50m open freestyle
In 2011, he won three gold med-
als in the 50m and 100m freestyle,
and the 50m backstroke, as well as
silver in wheelchair basketball.
He said he never thought he
would compete in sport again, "let
alone win gold medals at the US
Marine Corps' Paralympic Trials"
after losing a limb in a hit and run
accident in Townsville in 2007.
But the seemingly impossi-
ble became possible through the
ADFPSP, which is instrumental
to the well-being of wounded and
injured ADF personnel.
A PTI at RAAF Base Wagga,
FSGT Benfer said sport had been
critical to his recovery since the
"The competition is fantastic and
highlights how important sport is to
rehabilitation and recovery," he said.
Full coverage of the Paralympic Trials will
be published in the next edition of Air
ON THEIR GAME: FSGT Tony Benfer brings the ball up court on a fast break during the final night of the open
tournament of the 2013 Marine Corps Trials basketball competition. His team went on to win gold in the event.
Photo: Pat Cubel, US Marine Corps
ON OUR WAY: Military
Working Dog Handler
SGT Robert Cox, of
24SQN, runs with Zeus.
Photo: LACW Nicci Freeman
CLEAR FOR TAKE-OFF: Above, entrants set off on
the inaugural RAAF Base Edinburgh Runway Fun Run/
Walk on February 22.
Photos: CPL Colin Dadd
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