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Army and Air Guard members compete in fitness contest

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jean Kratzer,
  • Headquarters, 42nd Infantry Division

CONCORD, N.C. – The National Guard’s All Guard Endurance Team sent more than 40 service members to the Spartan Sprint 5k with over 20 obstacles at a 600-acre farm April 9-10.

From California, Maj. Robert Killian — two-time winner of the Army’s Best Ranger competition and Spartan World Championship obstacle race winner — finished first in the men’s elite category. Utah National Guard 2nd Lt. Dayde Collins finished second overall.

According to, the Sprint is a 5K trail run with 20 obstacles, held on off-road terrain featuring water and mud.

“I’ve raced the same guys over and over again in these competitions and begin to learn their strengths and weaknesses,” Killian said. “... I love competing in these events and representing the National Guard and coming out and teaching my teammates how to improve their obstacle skills.”

Guard members on the endurance team — 42 men and 17 women — came from 35 states and territories.

Tennessee Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Brandon Eckel, a CrossFit gym owner and competitive athlete, heard about the endurance team last year.

“I had been competing in these style events on an elite level since 2014 already, so I had nothing to lose with this exciting opportunity,” he said.

“After meeting the Guard members on the team and seeing what this team is doing to help push health and wellness, it truly revived my passion about the Guard,“ he said. “This team motivates me to stay in the Guard long term.”

Most competitors have been training for the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), which emphasizes agility and strength. This competition provided new challenges with obstacles and more running.

The All Guard Endurance Team, an expansion of the National Guard Marathon Program, increases physical fitness, self-discipline and esprit de corps among National Guard members.