Soldiers race through a 10-obstacle functional fitness challenge Feb. 4 at Atkins Functional Fitness Facility on Fort Drum. The event was hosted and organized by AFFF staff, Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) members, and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation personnel. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Soldiers put their fitness to the test
as competition returns to Fort Drum
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Feb. 4, 2021) – The BOSS Invades Atkins event returned to Atkins Functional Fitness Facility (AFFF) on Feb. 4 with a highly competitive group of Soldiers seeking the best time in a 10-obstacle course.
Michelle Winter, AFFF manager, said that this was the first in-person competition they successfully organized since the pandemic began, although there were attempts made last year. She credited the efforts of the AFFF staff, Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) members, and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation personnel for supporting its return.
“We worked hard, got all the safety measures in place, and took all the precautions necessary so we could execute this safely,” she said. “Honestly, we were excited to be able to host this again because it’s been so long since the last one.”
A mask-wearing requirement was established many months ago for patrons using the fitness facilities on post. During the safety briefing, Winter encouraged competitors to think of it as the 11th obstacle in the course.
Participants ran through a fatiguing series of obstacles, including sled pull, box jump, pushups, 300-meter row and tire flip. No more than two Soldiers competed at the same time, and there was a short break in between to sanitize the equipment for the next pair.
After completing his last goblet squat, Pfc. Aaron Shields, with B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, was on the receiving end of several back slaps and compliments from Soldiers in his platoon.
“That was freakin’ tiring – a killer workout,” he said. “I feel like I did pretty well. I pushed myself as hard as I could go.”
Shields said that he heard about the event a day earlier from his first sergeant, and he thought it would be a good way to challenge himself. Some of the obstacles were a nod to the Army Combat Fitness Test, such as the deadlift and overhead ball toss. Soldiers have been training for the ACFT for several months now.
“I think the ACFT is a better measure of your athleticism,” he said.
Spc. Hanna McNabb is a regular at Atkins, and she substituted her daily gym workout to be the lone female competitor at the event.
“I actually competed in the last one they had, and it was really fun,” she said. “I love Crossfit, and I love working out. I mean, I was going to be at the gym anyway, so why not compete?”
Formerly assigned to 277th Aviation Support Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, McNabb is currently with the Syracuse University ROTC through the Green to Gold program.
“This was definitely a cardio burner, for sure,” she said. “I like the ACFT, because the idea of just doing pushups, situps and running was never fun for me. I like having to do all the different events because it’s a better test of your overall fitness.”
She finished with a time of 4:20.
Among male competitors, the top finisher was Spc. Pedro Nespolo, a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, with a time of 4:03.
Sgt. Jesse Silva, BOSS president, said that they were happy to support the event with the FMWR team.
“Everybody has fun doing this, and it’s an awesome community event,” he said. “For one, it’s about physical fitness, which everyone needs in this time of COVID-19. And it’s just a great competition. Soldiers are incredibly competitive, so this is something they’re going to show up for. Hopefully, we can support more events like these in the future.”