Battle of the Base: Fitness Challenge promotes readiness of mind and body, builds esprit de corps
By Staff Sgt. Megan Cuebas, 123rd Force Support Squadron
/ Published January 08, 2012
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron took the title for most physically fit squad during the third-annual Base Fitness Challenge here, narrowly edging out the 123rd Contingency Response Group in a two-hour contest held here today.
More than 60 Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing tested their physical prowess during the challenge, which scored four-person teams based on their speed in a relay race and the time required to complete 40 sit-ups and push-ups.
Fourteen teams -- many with imaginative titles like Rondo's Rejects and Team AMMO -- represented units from across the base, while two additional teams were comprised of chief master sergeants and colonels, said Tech. Sgt. Dale Grupe, event coordinator and fitness program manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron.
The challenge was based on three heats, with five teams competing in the first two heats, and six in the third. Each team member was responsible for a different part of the relay. The first team member ran a lap, which was approximately a quarter-mile, and completed 40 push-ups before the next team member could begin. Team member two was required to run the same lap and complete 40 sit-ups. Team member three repeated the same routine as team member one, and team member four finished the relay with a strong lap.
Besides fostering physical fitness, the 2011 challenge also promoted wing unity and camaraderie, Grupe said.
"This was the best turnout we have had in the three years the challenge has been around, so it was great to see that the effort put into it was more than worth it," he added.
Tech Sgt. Shaun Cowherd, who also helped coordinate the event and is a fitness specialist with the 123 FSS, said the challenge was designed to be fun while still taxing participants' stamina.
"I feel this challenge is a true testament to a person's fitness level and drive," he said. "The design is simple but, when broken down, the race is very taxing on the performer's body. It takes courage and strength to get out there and partake in this event."
This year's winning team completed the event in 9:00 minutes, breaking the all-time Fitness Challenge record. Team members were Tech. Sgt. Jason Cordy, Tech. Sgt. Ryan Darnell, Staff Sgt. Travis Brown and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Lukens.
The 123rd Contingency Response Group team placed second with a time of 9:01, while the 123rd Force Support Squadron team held third with a final time of 9:04. Winners of the co-ed division hailed from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron.
Col. Greg Nelson, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, praised the challenge for helping build esprit de corps while promoting overall health and fitness.
"Events like the Fitness Challenge help us achieve readiness of body and readiness of mind so that we're all prepared to serve when our state or nation need us," he said. "We must continue to promote the idea that fitness is not something we prepare for once a year. It should be a way of life for every member of the 123rd Airlift Wing."