Competition was as fierce as had been anticipated. Bragging rights and titles were on the line for a fast few.  For others, The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Annual Fun, Run, Walk and Health Fair, held on April 2, 2016 was simply a great outing not only to socialize with Officers, Warrant Officers, Marines, family members and friends of the Force, but to participate in what is fast becoming a ‘must attend‘ early April event for the wider community.  Over 800 Bahamians including senior Government officials gathered at Goodman’s Bay as early as 5 am, dressed in blue, white, yellow and green, more than likely spurred by a very strong and compelling message emblazoned on the T-shirts this year, “Get fit or wish you did.”
Each year, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force dedicates an entire month where healthy lifestyles and practices are encouraged. The month culminates with this Annual Fun, Run, Walk and Heath Fair.  Committing to its corporate responsibility, the Defence Force extended an invitation to the general public who warmly received and endorsed the call to action, “Get Fit” by attending in droves.
The event began with a prayer for protection by Force Chaplain Rev. Prince Bodie and a welcome by the Commander Defence Force (Acting), Captain Tellis Bethel.
Thereafter runners gathered at the starting point, leaning forward with tension as they anticipated the bang of the gun which thundered them off to an adrenaline filled start promptly at 6 am. Walkers took to the streets just a few minutes later.  Marine Seaman Troy Seymour set the pace and veteran athletes like Lieutenant Commander Ricardo Barry and Petty Officer Marvin Darville were front runners in their category.   For them, the 6-mile run was over almost as quickly as it began.  The walk that followed was equally exciting with Able Woman Marine Akaria Smith and Leading Woman Shanelle Gibson stepping out in front.
“My experience was not as bad as I thought. Running was a breeze for me thanks to New Entry training,”
said Woman Recruit Oricia Clarke, one of eighty-two Marine Recruits currently training for full enlistment in the Force.  It was heartwarming to see the event showcasing families, as Lieutenant Commander Derrick Ferguson and Senior Lieutenant Origin Deleveaux led their families to the finish line to win many awards.
The event was coordinated by the Training Department of the Defence Force led by the Training Officer, Commander Cheryl Bethel who also read the results. The official results will be posted on the Defence Force’s Website and Social Media Page by this weekend to acknowledge all category winners.
The health expo may have been the most memorable experience for many and included blood pressure screening and massage therapy. The climate of the expo climaxed with a fitness demonstration by the Force’s Physical Training instructors who led an in sync crowd in aerobic exercise to the beat of soca and calypso music.  Plans are already underway for next year’s event!
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