By Russell Sellers, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 13, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 13, 2011) -- Cooler temperatures made part of the Iron Aviator competition less stressful, but it wasn't any easier on the Aviation Captains Career Course students who participated Oct. 6.
This was the final physical event for the class before moving on to final exams and graduation, and it gave them all a chance to work together as a team, said Capt. Mike Ishida, AVCIII small group leader and event coordinator.
"This is an individual as well as a team event," he said. "Really, the importance comes out of the teams' ability to put together a strategy to win. It's a great team-building activity."
The competition consisted of four events: a 4.5-mile ruck march, an 8.8-mile bike ride, 2-mile run and 300-meter swim, he said.
Ishida added that the students always look for ways to compete with each other and Iron Aviator represents a great opportunity to do just that.
"As career course captains, the one thing they look forward to is the time to compete with each other," he said. "It's also a great opportunity to get out of the classroom and spend some time here at Lake Tholocco."
The overall team winner was Team 10-1, the Sideliners, with a time of 1:34:37. Capts. Ryan Welch, Zac Seidel, Todd Mainwaring and Dan McNamara said they expected to win from the beginning.
"The guys that did the whole thing probably could have given us a run for our money if they'd been on a team together, but things worked out pretty well for us," Seidel said. "It was a good note for us to go out on as a team."
All of the team members agreed that the hardest part of the event was the ruck march at the beginning due to the ever-changing terrain and the extra weight attached to them in their packs.
However, Capt. Jimmy Tullis, who finished as the first-place individual with a time of 1:43:57, said the roughest part of the competition for him was the swimming.
"The second I hit the water I could feel my legs wanting to cramp up," he said. "I was feeling really good until I hit the water. It was really cold."
Before hitting the water, Tullis said the beginning was a tough event because so many people had a lot of energy.
"After the ruck, I fell behind a little because the teams were helping out with the changing from ruck to biking and that's where I slowed down a little," he said. "I had to make up some distance after that."
He said it felt good to finish first and he added that having never done a marathon or any other type of competition like this, it was a good way to close out the course.
"I've never ran a marathon or triathlon before," he said. "I do a lot of working out, though. The last three weeks coming in I ran and biked for an hour every day. I think it helped a lot."