By Lt. j.g. Sergio Wooden, Center for Naval Intelligence Public Affairs
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
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. Virginia Beach
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
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. U.S.
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: https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/cennavintel/Sites.aspx?ID=0&DID=4.