Navy Medicine East staffer gives back by running
“I use running as a means to stay active and to keep the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis at bay. I also use it as a way to give back, by participating in local and national runs that benefit our nation’s fallen heroes,” said Chris Cwiklinski, a retired senior chief hospital corpsman and security manager at Navy Medicine East.
The scope of responsibilities Cwiklinskli holds covers NME headquarters and its 39 command security managers across almost 100 facilities in the eastern hemisphere. But outside of work, his passion lies in running and competing in ultra-distance events such as 50k, 50 mile, 100k and 100 mile distances.
In 2006 Cwiklinski was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a progressive arthritis due to chronic inflammation of the joints the in spine. He runs to stay active and keep his joints flexible.
Along with running, he helps coordinate different running events in the local community to support local and national charities.
Through his efforts, Cwiklinski has helped recognize fallen service members and their families every year since 2013. He helps with the coordination of a 250 mile run from Virginia Beach, Virginia to the Arlington National Cemetery; honoring and remembering over 350 service men and woman who have either lived in or been stationed in Virginia; and who has paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“During the first year of my involvement in one of the national runs, I came across a little girl on the last mile marker on the first of our four day run. She was around 8 or 9-years-old. She requested to read a poem for her father [who was a fallen service member].” said Cwiklinski as his eyes watered. “That poem was very impactful and serves as a daily reminder of why it is important to give back.”