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February 3, 2011
By Michael Brooke
NAVY'S marathon man CAPT
Andrew Whittaker recently followed
in the foot steps of the ancient sol-
dier Phidepiddes, who made the his-
toric run from Marathonas to Athens
to announce the Greek victory over the
invading Persians in 490BC.
CAPT Whittaker, who is also presi-
dent of the Navy Running Association
(NRA), conquered the 42.2km mara-
thon to mark the 2500th anniversary of
Phidepiddes' gruelling run, after which
Phidepiddes died from exhaustion.
CAPT Whittaker was the only mem-
ber of the RAN to compete alongside
some 12,500 runners in the annual
'Marathonas to Athens' race, clocking a
time of 03:22.57 to place a very credible
"I consider myself extremely fortu-
nate to have been able to participate in
the run to mark 2500 years since that
first marathon and, of course, without the
drastic ending that befell Phidepiddes,"
CAPT Whittaker said unlike most
marathons in which competitors are very
focused, this marathon had a carnival
atmosphere and featured great camarade-
rie among the runners.
"But the course was very challeng-
ing," he said.
During the race he battled tighten-
ing calves, unseasonably warm weather
and steep inclines from the 18km to the
CAPT Whittaker said the route was
generally uninspiring visually, but cheer-
ing locals and little villages which played
Chariots of Fire and other inspiring
theme music on public amplifiers helped
"After stopping to stretch my calves,
hearing Chariots of Fire inspired me to
finish the race -- the finish line was the
venue where the first modern Olympics
were held in 1832," he said.
CAPT Whittaker said although this
was far from his best time for a mara-
thon, he was pleased just to compete and
happy his long-term knee injuries sur-
vived the 42.2km distance intact.
The NRA has lots of exciting runs planned
for 2011, including participation in ADF track
and field events. For more information visit
the website at www.navyrunning.com
FINISH LINE: CAPT Andrew Whittaker has
reason to smile after finishing the gruelling
'Marathonas to Athens' race held in Greece late
By Graham McBean
CHAMPION golfer LEUT Darryl
Whitehead fell just one shot short of
taking out back-to-back ADF National
Golf Championships in Canberra on
Down four shots at the 13th hole of
the last round, LEUT Whitehead steamed
home but was just pipped at the post by
Army's BDR David Schwartz.
His second place on the podium
earned him the honour as overall Navy
LEUT Whitehead said he had just had
a knee reconstruction and was surprised
but pleased to be among the top players
in the wild and wet conditions.
"I wasn't overly disappointed and
probably performed better than I thought
I would due to fitness levels," LEUT
He had good, consistent rounds in the
first three days, posting 72, 74, and 75
but was still several shots down to then-
leader, Army's CAPT Ben Magi.
It was a testament to the fine golf
CAPT Magi was playing to post a pair of
73s and a 70 (2 under par) to hold a long
lead into the last round on day four.
But as big-game nerves took hold, he
had a shocker on the 13th with a double
bogey and dropped another shot on the
14th.With the game now wide open from
the 15th hole, a great tournament got bet-
ter as all four top seeds took the tourna-
ment down to the last strokes.
"I'm 52 next birthday so maybe
I've got a little more experience, but I
wouldn't say it's over until the fat lady
sings," LEUT Whitehead said.
He acknowledged that he didn't play
particularly well on the last holes, which
opened the way for BDR Schwartz to
produce the necessary goods and claim
"Schwartzie has been there before;
he's been around and knows what to do.
When it's your day, it's your day," LEUT
Seasoned contestants BDR Schwartz
and LEUT Whitehead paid tribute to
CAPT Magi's third-place performance
and predicted big things for him.
The ADFGA also hosted 12 NZDF
Combined Services players in the event
and completed a round robin challenge
series of five matches in Sydney and
Canberra before contesting the Trans
Tasman Cup in Canberra.
The ADF took a comfortable lead
in the early matches but the NZDF
closed in the final round to make it a
With three matches out on the course,
NZDF held a slender lead, but the final
ADF scores saw a narrow victory to the
Tournament director for the 12th year
WGCDR Trevor Owens said negotiations
had secured the Federal Golf Club for
the ADF championships through to 2015.
Golfer one shot
THE job has once again fallen to
the ADF to uphold the national
With Australia's recent defeat
during the Ashes, it has fallen to
the Australian Services Cricket
Association to regain some of the
On March 8, an ADF Barbarians
cricket team will play a match with
the touring British Army Pilgrims
at Bradman Oval in Bowral in the
NSW Southern Highlands.
The match will form part of a
three-week tour by the Pilgrims,
which will see them play four
matches in the Sydney area (includ-
ing the match against the ADF) and
then a match in Perth on their way
For further information about this or
other Australian Service Cricket events,
contact Darren Mattison on 0416 062
003 or email asca.cricket@defence.
Check out the ASCA website at http://
SO CLOSE: LEUT Darryl
Whitehead in action dur-
ing the ADF National
Golf Championships at
the Federal Golf Club in
Canbera in December.
Photo: Graham McBean
Cricketers gear up to
uphold national pride
Send an email to navynews@
defencenews.gov.au with all the
details -- who, what, when, where,
why and how -- and we'll publish it
in the sports pages.
Want to publicise an
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