Pacing the Wolf Pack to their potential
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Some people stress out at the thought of taking the Air Force fitness assessment. People who normally run with ease may experience difficulty on the day of the test for a variety of reasons.
Well, lucky for those needing an extra push, there is now a program available to help Wolf Pack Airmen: the Pacer Program.
"The pacer, someone who has at least a minute faster run time than the person requesting assistance, will meet the individual at the track at the designated time of the test," said Airman 1st Class Patrick Shappley, 8th Communications Squadron cable and antennae maintenance journeyman and creator of the Pacer Program. "Pacers will provide a few different things. Not only will they pace to a pre-determined time set by the requester, but they will also advise on strategies like lap split times, running form and energy saving techniques."
This program isn't designed to only help people pass their test - that train of thought is discouraged. Instead, pacers are meant to provide an extra push to the runners who have already put in the hard work.
"Pacers are for the runners in the beginning, middle and end of the spectrum," the avid runner said. "I used this program for my test in May and decreased my time from 8:58 to 8:43, so I encourage anyone to use it."
Shappley has always been a fairly talented runner. He ran all through middle school, high school and some in college.
"I've had some success in running and feel like if you have the ability to do something well, why not lift others up with you," the running enthusiast said. "Running is something I am passionate about - especially racing. Essentially that's what you are doing in a physical training test, so any chance I have to be a part of that, I take it."
The program has been running since April of this year. Any Airman may use the program and anyone can volunteer as a pacer as long as they have a minimum fitness test score of 80 percent.
"Not only do pacers need a minimum score of 80 on their test, but they also need to have general knowledge of running mechanics and general running competition," Shappley said. "Also, a positive attitude is a must-have."
The Pacers Program is a supplement to the Fitness Improvement Program. After individuals go through the 30, 60 or 90 day FIP, they are encouraged to use the Pacers Program as well.
For more information on how to use this program or become a pacer, email Airman 1st Class Patrick Shappley at Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org.