NEW RIVER, N.C. - Headquarters Marine Corps’ Semper Fit announced the Marine Corps’ 2013 Female Athlete of the Year Jan. 29, from within the ranks of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Capt. Christine M. Taranto, a logistics officer currently serving as the operations officer and Headquarters and Service Company commander for Marine Corps Air Station New River’s Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, received the honor at the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Combined Awards Ceremony at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Monday.
“I am pretty excited and thankful for the opportunity to be honored in this way,” said Taranto. “I am fortunate to have been able to represent the Marine Corps and allowed to compete. It was just great to be honored.”
The award is part of an annual Semper Fit program to recognize the top female and male Marine athletes from across the Corps, according to Capt. Justine L. Whipple, the sports operations officer at the Marine Corps’ Semper Fit and Exchange Division. Awarded as the top male Marine athlete was Staff Sgt. Davis S. Arendt Jr., an infantry unit leader currently assigned to the U.S. Olympic wrestling team training for the 2016 games.
“The Marine must not only demonstrate an elite athletic ability, but also posses all of the qualities of a top tear Marine and that is exactly what [Capt.] Taranto did,” she said.
Taranto competed as part of the All Marine Running team for the first time in 2013, according to Whipple. As a member of the team, Taranto placed sixth overall at the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship with a time of 2:12:49 and finished with a time of 3:05:09 at the Marine Corps Marathon, placing first overall for active duty female Marines.
“I didn’t even know that this was a thing my command allowed me to be nominated for,” said Taranto. “I was very surprised and just honored to be selected. It was a phenomenal feeling.”
Taranto said that prior to competing in the events she followed a simple training routine to stay in shape.
“I did some research online and just kind of wrote my own plans,” she said. “As of last October though, I now have a personal trainer to help me out.”
Taranto, a Pittsburgh native, has been an athlete since she can remember, swimming and running competitively through her high school years. Taranto earned the Pennsylvania high school state championship cross-country title in 2002 and the indoor 3,000-meter run at the state meet that year.
“I was looking for an athletic scholarship to college and I had to choose between swimming and running,” she said. “Ultimately, I chose running and have kind of stuck with it ever since.”