A forward operating base in the Middle East is hardly an ideal location to train for a marathon.
But for Warrant Officer Class Two Kieren Perkins, who is deployed on Operation Accordion, training outside his comfort zone helped him become one of the fastest runners in the country.
In a year when long-standing Australian distance running records were toppled, he recently completed the Amsterdam Marathon in two hours and 17 minutes, making him the ninth-fastest man in Australia for 2022.
“I did my training runs at five in the morning to beat the heat,” Warrant Officer Perkins said.
“The temperature was in the mid-30s, and even in the 40s of an afternoon. I’d lose about two kilos through sweat on a run.
“I had to stash water around the camp on my two-hour long runs. It made things a little tricky.”
Warrant Officer Perkins said training in the heat gave him an advantage in the comparatively cool Dutch conditions.
At about 35 kilometres, he still had “run in his legs” and knew he was on track for a good time.
The Sunshine Coast local beat his personal best by more than 10 minutes.
“Being on deployment makes it that extra bit special,” Warrant Officer Perkins said.
“It’s good to show people you can be deployed and still fit in your training and achieve goals.”
Warrant Officer Perkins is usually posted to the 1st Intelligence Battalion, and is one of dozens of ADF personnel working at Headquarters Middle East to support operations across the Middle East and Africa.
As the head of logistics, he runs a small team that coordinates resupply and sustainment.
Warrant Officer Perkins said he couldn’t have achieved the result he did without the support of the team.
“It’s not always easy trying to fit it all in, but the morale at Camp Baird is high and we have a very supportive team,” he said.
Next year is a big year for the senior soldier, who hopes to break into the top five and be in the conversation for Olympic selection.
Warrant Officer Perkins will race next in Japan in February.