Coast Guard members participate in Long Island Marathon

NEW YORK-U.S. Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Terry Lathrop (center), Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Huftalen (left) and Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Saporito (right), members of Coast Guard Station Jones Beach, receive high-fives and support from friend and shipmates near the midpoint in the 26-mile Long Island Marathon, May 1, 2011.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Amanda Bowles

NEW YORK-U.S. Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Terry Lathrop (center), Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Huftalen (left) and Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Saporito (right), members of Coast Guard Station Jones Beach, receive high-fives and support from friend and shipmates near the midpoint in the 26-mile Long Island Marathon, May 1, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Amanda Bowles

Members of Coast Guard Station Jones Beach routinely train for many possible maritime emergencies. However, since January, a handful of the members have been training together for a challenge they have never faced – running 26 miles in the Long Island Marathon.

Six Coast Guardsmen arrived at the station at around 6 a.m. Sunday morning dressed in blue Coast Guard running jerseys and Coast Guard orange shorts.

Nicholas Saporito, Jeremy Huftalen, Eric Sesta, Justin Iulo, and Cory Nussbaum, all petty officers at Station Jones Beach, met with Senior Chief Petty Officer Terry Lathrop, who is the officer in charge of the station. On the wall of the station there is a photo of the runners-in-training running in formation down a road during a winter storm. Between the photographs and enthusiasm in the room, it’s plain to see the crew was ready for their big day.

“A while back when we were out running, a group from the station kept running past the loop we would turn around at. I asked where they were going, and they said ‘we’re doing 10,” said Lathrop. “It was shortly after we decided we would run the marathon [in 2010]. That year we ran we had four individuals run.”

“This year we have six. It’s a group commitment and we’re committed to each other,” Lathrop said.

The crew described their training where they started out with 10-mile runs and would increase their runs by a mile and a half each week. Some of the members went to a nearby running store where they were outfitted with shoes, which will best suit them for long distance running.

Aside from the Jones Beach Crew, two other Coast Guard members ran; Petty Officer 2nd Class Dwight Thompson of Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team New York, and Petty Officer 1st Class Gail Dale, a reservist attached to Public Affairs Detachment New York.

Jumping out of their cars, the runners made their way to the starting line of the race, where the whistle blew and hundreds of people started off to speakers blaring motivational music at 8 a.m.

As the day grew on, it also grew warmer. At just over four hours Nussbaum made his way across the finish line.

When asked how he felt, his answer was short.

“Awful… but good.”

As the crewmembers trickled in, they stuck around to cheer and support the remaining runners until all of them had returned, most red in the face, short of breath — some slightly limping, but accomplishing the goal they set five months ago.

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