Over The Top – Bear’s Boot Camp 2017
This year for Fitness First’s annual “pilgrimage”, there was some unfinished business for the troops. It was time to complete our Team Building activity in the mountains. Rewind 12 months to February 2016 when our very own National Sports and Events Manager, Gary Melhuish, aka Sergeant Major Bear Thrills attempted to lead over 100 troops split into 8 platoons when tragically we were stopped in our tracks when a soldier fell behind. A serious injury sustained in battle meant that the entire army was forced back to base, meaning we never even entered “Behind Enemy Lines”.
So, back to the present day, February 2017. Sergeant Major Bear Thrills was determined to get his troops “Over The Top” and my word did he deliver! “Bear’s Boot Camp” typically lasts a day and a half (although it feels a lot longer by the time you’re finished). However, in order to be confident of completing our mission, Gary started the event a little earlier… November 1st 2016! Using the tools we already have within our business, Gary created a challenge that was two fold. Firstly, to qualify for the event, every person had to achieve a set number of MYZONE Effort Points (MEPs). Secondly, each individual had to complete the Driathlon Challenge, that Gary himself created in 2015 as a means to engage staff and members in a rewarding, gym based triathlon.
Also, for the very first time, Bear’s Boot Camp was opened up to our Head of Departments. Typically, the event is targeted towards our Head Office based staff and Club General Managers, however, in order to engage a larger group of people, the decision was made to cast the net a little wider. In November 2016, the MEPs target was 1000, with the Super Sprint Driathlon distance needing to be complete. This involves rowing 1000 meters, cycling 5kms and running 1km in the gym, in the quickest possible time, with only 1 minute rest in-between each discipline. In December 2016, the MEPs target was increased to 1500, with the Sprint Driathlon distance of; 2000 meters row, 10kms cycle and 2kms run being completed by the troops.
Tired just reading? It gets better….
In January 2017, the final push, the final month of troops digging deep within themselves to find that last ounces of strength, that last piece of determination. The MEPs target was 2000 and the distance on the Driathlon was the Olympic! 3000 meters rowing, 15kms cycling and 3kms running. Each month troops dropped out, some not completing the required number of MEPs and some not completing the Driathlon Challenge quick enough. What did all this mean? It meant we had a crack squad of 60 people, split into 6 platoons to go “Over The Top” and complete our mission that was cut short this time last year!
And wow, did we smash it!!
The Race to the Top…
With each platoon setting off in 10 minute intervals, starting at 07:00 hours, the first 1.6kms was a straight race to the starting GPS marker. From here, the platoons would have to crack codes, answer questions, and go deep into the mountains to find hidden clues that would point them in the right direction to the finish line. They would have to navigate their way to 10 GPS markers in total, using their compass and GPS watches to help them around the mountains.
There was blood, sweat and I’m pretty certain tears shed in this gruelling 10km mountainous race. A race that the 3rd platoon finished in the quickest time. An impressive 2 hours and 23 minutes. However, this wasn’t the end of their ordeal….
The Mini Olympics…
At 10:45 hours, as the final team crossed the finish line, we then took the troops to the Hatta Fort Hotel where the platoons were greeted by their “B team”, a further 6 troops whom had arrived at the hotel in the morning and competed in the “Mini Olympics”. This consisted of Archery, Volleyball and Tug of War!
In the afternoon, (after a fantastic BBQ lunch) the troops completed a mental challenge called “Whistle Blower” created once again by the Sergeant Major. Platoon 4 proved that they were switched on even after a heavy lunch, by cracking the code in 15 minutes 11 seconds, a time that impressed everyone! After 30 minutes, the challenge was brought to an end and the troops would now compete against each other for one last time.
The Fitness Challenge…
Taking place in some beautiful scenery, Sergeant Major Bear Thrills had (once again) created something to truly finish the troops off! And in some style! Three lanes, two heats, and 17 troops in each platoon! The atmosphere was electrifying, and the competitive nature of all our employees shone through in spades. With tactical decisions made, splitting their platoon into a “B group” and “C group”, with one person designated as “A” (the cardio expert), it was time to compete.
In descending repetitions, “B group” had to complete burpees and hand release press ups. In between these exercises, “C group” had to smash out some overhead shoulder presses and some Bulgarian bag step ups. The cardio expert “A” was tasked with rowing up to 1000 meters, cycling up to 2kms and then running up to 20 lengths of the 40 meter course.
All of this excitement made for an amazing spectacle, an extremely competitive environment, and a truly epic finale to quite possibly the best “Bear’s Boot Camp” to date. In the evening, it was off to the camp site, sit down to relax with dinner and share our stories around the camp fire. The perfect way to end such an event.
Nothing builds a team’s morale and spirit like such an adventure and Gary Melhuish, our Sergeant Major Bear Thrills exceeds all expectations every year with these events!
Sports and Events Manager