Kentucky Air Guard units test fortitude in 4th-annual fitness challenge

Story by Master Sgt. Philip Speck, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Airman 1st Class Corey Ciarlante of the 123rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, performs pushups during the 123rd Airlift Wing Fitness Challenge at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 21, 2012. The challenge tested the ability of teams from across the base to complete a timed circuit that also included a 1.5-mile relay race and 40 sit-ups. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Rechel)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron held on to its title of most physically fit team in the Kentucky Air National Guard after competing against 14 other squads during the fourth-annual 123rd Airlift Wing Fitness Challenge here Oct. 21.

Sixty Airmen competed in the challenge, which tested four-person teams on their ability to complete a circuit of 80 pushups, 40 sit-ups and a 1.5-mile relay race. Teams could be all male or co-ed.

The special tactics squad set a new record this year, completing the challenge in 8 minutes and 54 seconds — 6 seconds faster than the record they set last year.

Tech. Sgt. Shaun Cowherd, base fitness program manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron, said the challenge helps build esprit de corps across the wing while promoting fitness.

“Year after year, we’re seeing the times get faster and faster,” he said. “It shows that people are paying attention to fitness and being fit to fight.”

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Kentucky Air National Guardsmen begin the relay-race portion of the 123rd Airlift Wing Fitness Challenge at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 21, 2012. The challenge tested the ability of teams from across the base to complete a timed circuit that also included 80 pushups and 40 sit-ups. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Rechel)

The STS team was comprised of Capt. Nathan Tingle, Tech. Sgt. Harley Bobay, Staff Sgt. Oliver Smith and Senior Airman Matt Ray, each of whom received a wing commander’s coin.

The 123rd Security Forces Squadron team came in a close second at 9:01, followed by a team from the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron at 9:22. The top-scoring co-ed team hailed from the 165th Airlift Squadron.

“Being my first year involved with the Fitness Challenge, I was excited to see the participation from each unit, both from the competitors and the spectators,” said 2nd Lt. Jonathan Fairbanks of the 123rd Force Support Squadron. “I think events like the Fitness Challenge increase camaraderie within individual units and have a morale-boosting affect base-wide, strengthening the 123rd as a whole.”

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