Endurance Race: Safety and Participation

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About 2,500 Boston Marathon runners receive medical treatment

Boston Globe, April 16, 2018
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/04/16/marathon-runners-treated-for-injuries-wellesley/JhQbVspqLwJEy4XFKjvULI/story.html

The food, drinks, coffee, and roaring fire in the building’s front room took on a more serious purpose as more than 50 injured competitors streamed in, many suffering from symptoms of hypothermia.

“It’s just become this impromptu shelter for running refugees,” said associate pastor Ashley Murphy, who lives nearby and had already raided her pantry and linen closet for food, towels, and dry clothes.

More than 2,500 runners, including 25 elite athletes, received medical treatment, race organizers said. Eighty-one runners were taken to the hospital.

Given 29,978 runners registered for the 2018 Boston Marathon (and they had to pre-qualify to be accepted), this is more than a 8.3% casualty rate. Contrast this to the injury rates common at shooting or strength sport events, which are comparatively non-existant.

So why do endurance sports enjoy positive attention? The stats continue to show why non-shooting events receive attention while shooting events do not.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/tag/participation-rates/

29,978 runners registered for the 2018 Boston Marathon, supported by 9,500 volunteers, over 500,000 spectators, and $830,500 in prizes. There were another 10,000 participants at the BAA 5K around the Boston Common held just before.
The 2018 Boston Marathon: By The Numbers by Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes Magazine
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2018/04/16/the-boston-marathon-2018-by-the-numbers/#7ccf034b31d6

Contrast this to participation rates at shooting or strength sport events and you’ll have your answer.

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Improving Marksmanship Programs

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Words of wisdom from John Tate

  1. Get competition instilled at the unit level – then post level, etc. I put this first – because it is the most important factor. Getting leadership interested in crucial. Get awards and/or commendations for commanding officers of small units when their people shoot well. If the brass appears to care about something, their minions will too.
  2. Instill competition. Just like PT should be, consider every qual session to be competitive. Post scored and give some sort of prize/praise to the top shooters. Castigate those at the bottom.
  3. Promote self-training. Use on-duty time to show proper techniques (especially dry fire techniques), and have troops practice on their own time. Don’t soldiers work on PT on their own time? Also, don’t you still own boots 24/7? In my day (1960s, 1/2 a century ago) not only boots, but regulars were yours 24/7.
  4. Publish the comparative costs of shooting against other activities that require consumables … like jet fuel for aircraft, guided missiles, projectiles for armor and artillery. I think you can make the case that small arms ammo is cheap. And, if you can copy some of the laser simulation systems, you don’t even need ammo, no worry about lead poison, and no worry about negligent discharges.
  5. Consider a practice from WWI through the VietNam era: Use .22 LR and airguns.
  6. Use reduced size ranges & targets. For rifle, long ranges are hard to use. They take up lots of space and preparation/mainatenance. They require target pullers. They require time just walking back and forth from line to pits. Consider reduced range work. Putting bullets in the same hole at 1,000 inches equates to holding the 10-ring at 600 yds.

Hang Tough – Keep the Faith – Watch your 6.

Businesses That Prefer You Don’t Return

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Serious athletes and others genuinely interested in and committed to improved physical performance focus on improving fundamentals. The basic, boring – but difficult – things that make people better. That’s why most commercial gyms specifically focus on not catering to them.

Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym. Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. Planet Fitness can do this because it knows that members won’t show up.

A gym with people truly interested in getting strong would look more like this:

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/12/17/371463435/episode-590-the-planet-money-workout

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/12/30/373996649/why-we-sign-up-for-gym-memberships-but-don-t-go-to-the-gym

John Tate on “Assault Rifles”

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1. “Assault weapons” have several characteristics: the two main ones are low power & selective fire. Functionally, these interact. Selective fire means either semi- or full-automatic fire are options. Low power so the arm is controllable in full-auto mode.

2. Accurate, full-auto firing is a non-sequitur. Single shots are for specific targets; full-auto is in fact an area weapon. And becoming effective with full-auto is: (a) very expensive in ammunition consumed and barrels ‘shot out,’ (b) it’s by physics, inaccurate – which is why we call it ‘spray and pray,’ (c) and of little avail for the casual or sport shooter … because of a & b.

3. Given any level of proficiency, a manually operated rifle (e.g., a bolt gun) and a semi-auto have about the same capability for aimed fire. Want a demo? Here are links to some Norwegian competitions. The first link is just to a bolt gun shooter (using the 1890’s vintage Krag-Jorgenson action). The second & third are not only a face-to-face competitions between bolt guns and semi-autos, but the bolt guns win! #3 also features lady shooters! They are deadly accurate!! Watch Jenny Stene and her bolt gun. (Note: she pulls the trigger with her ring finger.)


(at 5:25 is a Krag shooter)
(at 7:40 is a semi-auto competing against bolt guns; note the bolt guns shoot faster, Miss Stene wins the round AND beats the gas gun.)

4. I won’t belabor the point … beyond this: I was a competitive highpower rifle shooter for 10 years. I used an M14. (It was the “assault weapon” predecessor of the M16. It wasn’t practical for full-auto because it fired the .308/7.62 cartridge … too powerful for controlled full-auto fire.) I often shot against bolt guns. With a skilled shooter, the bolt guns won because they (a) fired just as fast, and (b) were more accurate.

5. The gross ignorance of the media and their hyperbole of presentation AND the general ignorance of the man-on-the-street and consequent vulnerability to the media distortions are what has propelled the AR-15 to such depths of public disdain. Indomitable ignorance is far more dangerous than ARs!

Use Timers?

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We happen to work regularly with folks who count days between gunfights. Not if they will fight with gun(s) but how soon again they do it. They work with timers. They also don’t talk on internet forums.

– Ken Nelson

Real face shooters train with people like Robby, Dave and Jerry. They certainly use timers. The fantasy camp face shooters are the ones who hate reliable metrics for tracking performance.
They would rather buy the latest plate carrier than actually practice.

– Scott Thompson

Mark Allen on Strength Training

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Are you over 35 years of age? Do you have a limited amount of training time? Do you want to reverse — or at least slow down — as many aspects of the aging process as possible? Are you an endurance athlete looking for an extra edge? Do you want to boost power, reduce fatigue, guard against injury and increase your late-race energy reserves?

Well, who doesn’t? And strength training can be the tool to help you accomplish each of these universally sought-after benefits. In fact, strength, or resistance, training is one of the most commonly overlooked means to improve endurance athletic performance.

All too many triathletes sacrifice strength training in favor of additional swim, bike or run sessions. This is unwise. In fact, a well-executed strength-training program can allow you to carve up to 25 percent out of your swim, bike and run volume while improving performance and enjoying better race-day results.

I fought going to the gym for years until I reached my mid-30s. Suddenly, speed work started to look more like steady-state training, and I could no longer override a lack of power on climbs with desire. My race performances started to suffer. I could see that even with a huge volume of miles out on the roads, my fitness was not what it was in my 20s.

Adding resistance training was the next step, but I had a problem. I had no idea how to design and integrate a strength program into triathlon training. I was also intimidated by the gym because I felt like the scrawny weakling on the beach compared to the hulks pushing around weights that would crush me. So there I was, the Ironman champion, embarrassed to go into the gym.

But my desire to win was even stronger than my embarrassment. I was introduced to a top strength coach, a woman named Diane Buchta. She led me through an entire season of weights, focusing on building overall body strength and, eventually, muscular speed.

The results were dramatic. In the first full season I used [a strength program] I won the Triple Crown of Triathlon: the Nice International Triathlon, the Zofingen duathlon, and the Hawaii IRONMAN.

Ash Hess: Army Marksmanship and MMTC

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SFC Ash Hess (ret.) was one of the primary authors of the Army’s new Training Circulars. He was asked to speak before a recent graduating class at Marksmanship Master Trainer Course. Here’s a link to his original post and the transcript. Bold highlights were added to emphasize important points.

https://ashhessblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/speach-for-the-marksmanship-master-trainer-course/

Speech for the Marksmanship Master Trainer Course

I want to start off by saying that I am honored and humbled to be here. When SFC Chain asked me to speak I checked to make sure he was messaging the right guy because honestly I never expected to receive that message. I immediately, upon that confirmation, jumped at the chance to speak to the graduates of the Master Marksmanship Trainer Course 03-18.

You see, the people in this room, guests, cadre and most importantly the graduates are the future of Army Marksmanship. One would be pretty naïve to assume that anyone could stand here and say that we don’t have issues in that realm. Five weeks ago, you may or may not have agreed that we are a couple of minutes of angle off across the Army.

During the course, you have learned better ways to shoot and train, things you never heard of, and things you learned in basic training and lost over the years. You slaughtered some sacred cows and destroyed perpetual myths centered on our service rifle. You are now part of a relatively small group of people in the Army that have attended an Army level class on marksmanship.

Until MMTC unveiled, the last formal, Army level marksmanship training was basic training. Think about the thousands of leaders and soldiers that have done nothing more than execute what their Drill Sergeants taught them over their careers with no chance of learning more.

If you were lucky, you had the privilege of attending one of the many Division Schools like I ran when I attended MMTC in 2015. While these schools were awesome training, they lacked one important element that MMTC does not. Army-wide recognition. We trained people and when they left the Division, that knowledge was often met with “that’s great, but here is how we do it. ”

When you walk out those doors you are not facing that challenge of trying to sell your skills. You have the backing of the Infantry School. You also have something else that is near and dear to my heart. That would be TC 3-22.9. By now you have been in that book and if you wondered who the good idea fairy was, well, that’s me.

That book was written under this simple guidance “write the book you needed while you were instructing” The course I ran for 10th Mountain graduated 1600 students under my watch. 1600 people learned and executed great things and went back to their units only to be hamstrung by an old book. My team and stakeholders from across the Army, active and reserve, set out to make a book that supported not only everything we have learned in the war but something that would support good marksmanship techniques and most importantly, teaching techniques.

We not only vetted the book within the Army, but we brought in several professional instructors from across the industry. Many of them have been teaching every weekend for 10+ years as their primary income. These pros helped us streamline the message and cleared up wording to make it teach more effectively. Believe that these guys are on your side and want nothing more than effective American Soldiers. Many times, business comes second and they gave the Army things that people would pay a lot of money to learn.

In our research, we found some things. Our weapons aren’t bad for what we are asking them to do. All of you fired issued weapons from five meters out to 600 meters. The ammunition is good enough for what we are asking it to do. You guys know this as you got hits. If the weapons and ammo aren’t the problem, what is?

Is it the caliber of Solider? If that were it, it wouldn’t cover 40 years of marginal performance

Is it the number of rounds we fire? Could be in some cases but if SFC Chain and the cadre had simply said, “here is 100,000 rounds; blast away” without any teaching would you guys have seen the improvement you made the past few weeks?

We decided that is was WHAT we were saying and how we were saying it. We relooked what we were providing to leaders and instructors to teach. Here at Fort Benning, you can’t present anything that isn’t in a book. No matter what we wanted to teach, the book was the book. I think we made big strides on fixing that.

So that leads to what you guys learned here in MMTC. For those in the room, you were successful. Some were not. The difference is the message that the cadre challenged and graded you on delivering. You had to group to higher standards than normal, get more precise zeros and get hits beyond what many of you were used to. You also had to teach back things that improved your own performance. You not only learned how to shoot better but learned how to make others shoot better, which is the big picture.

This is how we are improving Army Marksmanship. No more will you leave a school and not be able to use the information provided there because a leader asks one simple question, “What does the book say?” The knowledge passed on to you from the cadre cannot be undermined nor argued with by those who have always done it one way. When you go back to your units and later your next unit, that knowledge will still be relevant.

I close with a challenge. I challenge you, the MMTC graduates to transfer all the knowledge gained here to four people. You may get more than that but if you can get four people to the same level you are the result will be astounding. You and your subordinates need to get the message out to 1 million people as they fire 400 million rounds next year. You now know how to get all the rounds you and your Soldiers are allocated and the best ways to use them. Those rounds will be fired, we hope, but the question remains are they good rounds or are they fired the same way we always have done it.

I thank you for all you are doing and you have my support in your continued efforts.

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