By Airman 1st Class Lillian Combes
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The screen was covered with a towel so he wouldn't see any reasons to stop. His feet were secured to the machine as he pushed off again and again. He grits his teeth as he keeps pushing past his limits. Suddenly, his legs finally gave out and he could continue no longer. With another day of rowing complete, he was on his way to bringing yet another trophy home.
Within the month of February 2018, Barksdale overcame a rowing challenge issued by 509th Force Support Squadron Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. This annual event, which originated at Whiteman, was opened to competitors from all across Air Force Global Strike Command bases for the first time this year.
The top male and female performers were chosen based on the most meters rowed. The only rules were that the machine had to be set at a minimum resistance of five and photos had to be provided of the machine before and after each use. Barksdale competitors were restricted to the Senior Airman Bryan Bell fitness center’s rowing machines.
“Don’t give up,” said Senior Airman Christiana Almont, 2nd Munitions Squadron line delivery technician and top female performer. “Even if you go for 15 to 20 minutes a day, it’s better than nothing.”
In addition to winning top female performer, Team Barksdale also placed first in the male performer category.
“Rowing is for everyone,” said Capt. Joseph Flescher, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron material management flight commander. “Whether you’re somebody who sticks to the waist generally, or you’re someone who focuses on cardio, it has something for everybody.”
During the competition, Flescher rowed 400,024 meters over the course of 28 days, making him the top male participant in the competition.
“If someone else in the competition was there for two hours, I was going to be there for two hours and one minute,” said Flescher. “I see them sit down beside me and I can’t help myself, my competitiveness kicks in.”
After a month of heated competition across the AFGSC, the performers get to see their hard work pay off with the trophy that is proudly displayed at the fitness center.