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Fitness Challenge: Physical competition marks highlight of Wingman Day events

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing pushed themselves to the limit July 13 during the unit's first-ever Fitness Challenge. The event, scheduled as part of annual Wingman Day activities, included a team relay race, timed crunches and push-ups. Top honors went to a team from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, which completed the challenge circuit in a time of 9:09.

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing pushed themselves to the limit July 13 during the unit's first-ever Fitness Challenge. The event, scheduled as part of annual Wingman Day activities, included a team relay race, timed crunches and push-ups. Top honors went to a team from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, which completed the challenge circuit in a time of 9:09. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Dennis Flora.)

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing pushed themselves to the limit July 13 during the unit's first-ever Fitness Challenge. The event, scheduled as part of annual Wingman Day activities, included a team relay race, timed crunches and push-ups. Top honors went to a team from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, which completed the challenge circuit in a time of 9:09.

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing pushed themselves to the limit July 13 during the unit's first-ever Fitness Challenge. The event, scheduled as part of annual Wingman Day activities, included a team relay race, timed crunches and push-ups. Top honors went to a team from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, which completed the challenge circuit in a time of 9:09. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Dennis Flora.)

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing pushed themselves to the limit July 13 during the unit's first-ever Fitness Challenge. The event, scheduled as part of annual Wingman Day activities, included a team relay race, timed crunches and push-ups. Top honors went to a team from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, which completed the challenge circuit in a time of 9:09.

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing pushed themselves to the limit July 13 during the unit's first-ever Fitness Challenge. The event, scheduled as part of annual Wingman Day activities, included a team relay race, timed crunches and push-ups. Top honors went to a team from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, which completed the challenge circuit in a time of 9:09. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Dennis Flora.)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The U.S. Air Force is placing renewed emphasis on physical fitness, and the Kentucky Air Guard is doing its part to promote that warrior ethos.

Nearly 100 Kentucky Airmen turned out here July 13 to compete in the 123rd Airlift Wing's first-ever Fitness Challenge.

Twenty-four teams of four Airmen each vied for top honors by completing a circuit that included a relay race, timed crunches and push-ups, said Master Sergeant Krista Lindsey, field training technician for the 123rd Services Sustainment Flight, which sponsored the event.

Col. Greg Nelson, wing commander, made the contest more interesting by adding commander's coins to the mix.

Relay runners were required to hand off the coins without dropping them, lest they incur a time penalty.

This year's top team hailed from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, with a circuit time of 9:09. The team was comprised of Capt. Kevin Krauss, Staff Sgt. Ryan Thompson, Airman 1st Class Austin Shaffer and Airman 1st Class Jeff Hall, each of whom received a commander's coin and VIP service for a steak lunch.

They also were recognized by Colonel Nelson during a commander's call that preceded Family Day events later in the afternoon.

The Fitness Challenge was coordinated by Tech. Sgt Dale Grupe, Staff Sgt. Shaun Cowherd and Master Sgt. Kenny Richards. Sergeants Grupe and Cowherd are certified by the Cooper Institute as qualified personal trainers. They also manage the base fitness center.

The idea was to create an event that promoted teamwork and morale as much as it promoted personal fitness, while also adhering to all Air Force fitness and safety standards, organizers said.

The entire base ultimately became involved, with many people volunteering to serve as monitors. Others offered moral support by clapping and cheering for the competitors as they pushed past their personal limits.

"It was a huge success and could very possibly become an annual event," Sergeant Lindsey said.