Pushing to the limit

  • Published
  • By Airman Victoria Nelson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing
Beads of sweat trickled down and splashed onto the black rubber floor. Tech. Sgt. Aaron Marceau, an aircraft maintenance craftsmen with the 157th Maintenance Group, grips the bar pulling more than 500 pounds off the ground. 

The 157th Maintenance Group held their inaugural weight lifting competition as a part of the 2018 157th MXG commander’s challenge Nov. 4, 2018 at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H.

Lt. Col. Christine Banks, the commander of the 157th MXG offered two different challenges to her airmen. The first was a weight loss challenge, and the second was a weightlifting competition consisting of bench, squat, deadlift and running components.

“We have some very, very fit people in our maintenance group,” said Banks, watching the airmen warm up for the bench press. “I did not want these fit airmen feeling like they needed to lose weight.”

The challenge was designed to test airmen of all abilities and encourage them to continue building their fitness as a whole.

“I have never been a serious lifter,” said Tech. Sgt. Ariel Feindel, a crew chief with the 157th MXG. “I am a runner so I am hoping to redeem myself with a fast mile.”

Tech. Sgt. Todd Scruton, a crew chief with the 157th MXG, organized the competition to emphasize the importance of all fitness.

“Just because someone is not great at push-ups, sit-ups or running does not mean they are in bad shape,” said Scruton. “This kind of challenge recognizes a different kind of fit outside of the usual physical fitness test.”

The airmen who competed in the competition not only showed their physical strength but also the strength of the comradery in the Wing.

“This competition builds comradery, you can feel it in your bones when you’re in the room,” said Banks after a congratulatory cheer for a successful lift.

Loud shouts of encouragement could be heard through the gym walls as each lift and squat was completed. The wingmen volunteered to spot one another and congratulated every lift regardless of the outcome.

As one airman after another achieved personal best, the gym filled with a palpable energy of teamwork and accomplishment.

Banks said she was amazed at the dedication and grit her airmen showed.

“I can physically see these airmen testing themselves and pushing their own limits. It’s inspiring. It is making me want to do this too.”