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NSWC Carderock Division’s 2016 Captain’s Challenge award ceremony

By Katie Ellis-Warfield, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs | April 25, 2016

WEST BETHESDA, Md. —

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) employees who participated in this year’s Captain’s Challenge were honored at an awards ceremony in West Bethesda, Maryland, April 18.

Tom Yates, NSWCCD Captain’s Challenge coordinator, welcomed guests and gave opening remarks. “Turnout was a little lighter this year than last but more people completed the challenge this year,” Yates said.

NSWCCD Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Blank gave a congratulatory speech and encouraged employees to continue exercising. “Even though the Captain’s Challenge has concluded, I encourage you all to continue with your exercise regimen and to look for ways to exercise outside every day, even if only by working in your yards,” Blank said.

Award certificates and hats were given to all 45 participants who completed the challenge. Those who completed the “Captain’s 40” were also given a challenge coin. Two challenge achievement prizes were given to those who logged the most time and points and four door prizes from NSWCCD’s Employee Services Association were given out.

The Captain’s Challenge is for participants to exercise or participate in physical activity for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for at least six weeks. The “Captain’s 40” is 40 minutes a day of exercise or physical activity for 40 days. Most of this year’s participants completed the “Captain’s 40.”

The popular activities this year included biking, running and hiking. Some participants logged their time through high-intensity sports such as ice hockey and obstacle course races.

The two winners of the challenge achievement prize for most time and points logged were first place Alex Gomes, a naval architect in the Future Concepts and Design Integration Process Division, and second place Michael Marsh, a program manager in the Signatures Characterization and Analysis Division.

Gomes said he was surprised by his win. “I didn’t find out until this afternoon (April 20) as I wasn’t in attendance for the award ceremony due to being in Boston for the marathon.” Running the Boston Marathon has been a goal of Gomes’ for two years and this year he was able to achieve it, finishing with a time of 3:13:45.

To train for the marathon and for the Captain’s Challenge, Gomes said he did a lot of running and weight training. “I was also hiking, biking and walking around a lot since I was out on the west coast as part of my external rotation at Southwest Regional Maintenance Center. I am a pretty active person in general and just signed up for the challenge for fun.”

Marsh said that he was also very surprised to find out that he had won. “My wife and I typically do cardio-focused exercise videos most days before work. For the Captain’s Challenge we also began walking during lunch and adding some other outdoor activities on weekends. Working toward the Captain Challenge goals gave me a little extra motivation to get up at 4:30.”

“I had never participated before so I didn’t have a real goal in mind other than finishing and had always heard good things about the Captain’s Challenge, Marsh said. “Tom (Yates) does a great job keeping everyone informed and provides opportunity for group activities. I think anyone who participates will have a positive experience.”

Yates said that there is some interest in having another challenge this fall just before the holidays. Announcements for the next challenge will be posted in all-hands emails and Wavelets.

Yates said this take away from this year’s challenge is, “Keep exercising. Physical activities and exercising shouldn’t be only eight weeks a year.”