Dad, daughter run, roll to victory in Sasebo 4K
December 26, 2003
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Anna Maria Bustamante won her first race Tuesday even though she’s two months shy of birthday No. 3 — and even though she didn’t lift a foot.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that dad — Cmdr. David Bustamante, 39, the base’s Public Works officer — was in good enough shape that he could get them both across the finish line ahead of the 41 other runners.
The Bustamantes — he afoot, pushing her in a three-wheeled buggy — were among competitors late Tuesday afternoon in the Santa’s Reindeer Gift Exchange 4K Run. The father-daughter duo took a commanding early lead, finishing more than a minute ahead of the herd just 18 minutes, 48 seconds later.
The race, sponsored by Sasebo’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department, both started and ended at the Fleet Gymnasium on the Main Base.
“It wasn’t a bad time for me, for a 4K, but pushing my daughter in the stroller did slow me down a little,” said Bustamante, just before accepting his winner’s gift from another race participant, Lt. Dude Underwood, officer in charge of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five, Sasebo Detachment.
Underwood and his Seabees colleagues arrived for a deployment rotation in Sasebo about two weeks ago from Port Hueneme, Calif.; many sailors from the unit ran in the MWR event.
Toddler Anna Maria “really enjoys being pushed in the stroller on runs like this,” Bustamante said. “As for me, yes, I’m an avid runner. But I really like to come out to support the MWR-sponsored running events; they have something like 25 or 30 of these a year, and you can’t get better than that.”
This holiday race had a theme inspired by the season — making it almost a given some variety of gift swapping would be involved.
Race coordinator and MWR Athletics Director Isaiah Mincks, waiting for the entrants to leg it back to the finish line, explained how it worked: “Each runner purchases and wraps a nice gift — but it shouldn’t cost them any more than $10. ... The gifts are combined, and the first to finish the race gets the pick of the pile. The next to finish has the next pick and so on.
“Since they are wrapped, the runners still don’t really know what they are getting. It’s all just about having a good time, health and fitness,” Mincks said, “and maybe working off some of that extra put on during Thanksgiving to make room for the Christmas meals.”