Military News

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NMITC Staffers Run for Others in Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon

By Lt. j.g. Sergio Wooden, Center for Naval Intelligence Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Runners from support units at the Navy and Marine Intelligence Training Center (NMITC) participated in the 10th annual Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Sept. 5, as teams helping disabled athletes run the race.

Marine Capt. Kim Rossiter, enlisted training company commander, NMITC Marine Detachment; Gunnery Sgt. Rebecca Jo Zahrndt, assistant operations chief for the Marine Corps Intelligence Schools (MCIS); Lance Cpl. Andrew Juarez, assistant course coordinator for the Air Intelligence Officer Course and Letty Marino, MCIS curriculum coordinator, all ran as 'pushers' with teams that included disabled individuals riding in tri-wheeled carts.

The NMITC staffers were running in support of the Virginia Beach chapter of Team Hoyt -- a nationally recognized organization that strives to help those who are physically disabled become active members of the community. This year's Rock and Roll Half Marathon included 55 'pushers' and 35 rider-athletes from Team Hoyt.

Zahrndt, a sixteen-year veteran of the Marine Corps who recently started running, loved the thought of running for someone who couldn't. "To help someone do something that they otherwise would not be able to do is an honor and something that more able-bodied people should do," said Zahrndt. "When I see peoples' reaction to these athletes and the motivation they provide -- it's awe-inspiring."

For Rossiter, the run hit close to home, as he was pushing his six-year-old daughter Ainsley, whose battle with Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD) has left her paralyzed and wheelchair bound. Ainsley is one of seven children in the U.S. that is stricken with this terminal illness. Rossiter decided that at the first opportunity, he would run with his daughter and let her experience the joy of being in a race and crossing the finish line. Running together in multiple 5K and 8K races over the last two years, Rossiter and his daughter increased their distance by running the half marathon.

Juarez needed only to hear the call for help from a fellow Marine and he came running, literally. "I considered it an honor to run with Capt. Rossiter and to run for his daughter Ainsley," said Juarez. "She is some kind of special and kept me motivated the whole time we were running. I look forward to helping with events like this as long as I can."

Zahrndt and Marino were on the team pushing Rebecca Rollick, a member of the Team Hoyt Virginia Beach chapter. Marino, a participant in each of the previous nine Rock 'n' Roll marathons, was eager to be involved, having seen and heard about Team Hoyt over the years.

"It was a huge boost to me to see Rebecca's response to everything around her," said Marino. "It was heartwarming to feel a connection with her as we raced through the crowd and headed toward the finish line. These riders, like all the other athletes, look forward to the race, finishing and getting their medals. It's something I want to be a part of for a long time."

For more information on the Navy and Marine Intelligence Training Center (NMITC), visit:

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