Page 124 - MBS 2022/23
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  Reflecting over the last 3 years I can’t work out whether I think it’s gone quickly or whether it’s dragged...
it mostly just seems like a busy blur! My biggest takeaway from my time in a mainstream unit is that it simply wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The stories from my fellow RAPTCIs about the demanding workloads and the resistance from the CoC... were all true! But, with that comes a lot more flexibility and freedom that you don’t usually have within an ERI role. This has enabled me to get away on more events and OSVs and has definitely made finding the time to train a lot easier.... although in my case that just means I get injured more.... but you can’t have it all!
16 Signal Regiment is a great place to work, the facilities are one of the main draws as it boasts 3 separate gyms as well as an all-weather pitch, numerous grass pitches, tennis courts and squash courts; the only thing it lacks is a swimming pool. Therefore, the unit is a popular choice for pitch/facility bookings and hosting all manner of events. With 3 units at Beacon Barracks, the hustle and bustle never stops.
The unit is fully committed to retention and improving the lived experience for all personnel. This is one of the biggest differences I noticed from my pre-RAPTC days. Back then the focus seemed to be more on developing physical and mental robustness whereas as now the demographic has rapidly changed and seems to require a more empathetic touch. This has led to challenges with the younger generations coming through in terms of motivating them to engage with PT and sports. The growing interest in E-Sports, alongside immediate digital entertainment at the touch of a button appear to be more of an attractive lure to some rather than sticking on some PT kit and engaging in some physical exertion. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and despite this, the unit has managed to achieve sporting success over the last year and continues to do relatively well in the Army Sports Trophy Competition.
The RAPTC contingent of the Army Athletics OSV to South Africa
SSgt (SSI) A Briggs RAPTC
 Amongst the events hosted by the unit were Midlands Cross Country League Race 1 and also the Midlands Cross Country Championships. 5km of the route is on farmers’ land just outside the wire of Beacon Barracks which has varied terrain with a couple of cheeky inclines making it a firm favourite of the die-hard trail runners in the region. Being the Midlands Cross Country Secretary, the aim this year was to simply drive the attendance and participation as best I could to get it back to somewhere near pre-COVID numbers. It was by far the hardest task of the year and literally sapped quite a lot of the life out of me. Again, today’s military demographic is made of... different stuff. So the approach had to be that of making the events as inclusive as possible. This was done by elaborating on the two types of competitions that take place in the league. The first type of competition is the one that everyone knows about which is simply that the fastest racing snake wins. But the second type is the one for the consistent, robust runners. They might not have the speed, but the fact they tip up to every race that they can rather than the minimum means that they will still be in with a fighting chance of making the podium. A tactic that some units and individuals used to great effect. Overall, the league proved to be another success as the attendance for this season has rocketed by a 40% increase compared to last season!
As far as personal achievements go, this year was a big one! Most athletes have a
SSgt (SSI) Briggs representing England at the Chester 10K
dream of one day being able to represent their country doing the sport they love. And this year was that year! After qualifying last year, I finally managed to don an England vest and race at the Chester 10k against Wales. It definitely wasn’t the Olympics... and it was only for the old boys team... and I’d had a calf injury for the 6 weeks leading uptoitsogotoneofmyworsttimesin recent years... and threw up again at the 4 mile point (such a glamorous sport)... but it was a national vest nonetheless. This was all off the back of an amazing 2-week training camp to South Africa with the Army Athletics team. Speaking to some of the coaches and GB athletes out there is always a sure-fire way of getting you motivated to get out there and race, even if you might not be at peak performance. It was a very inspirational trip – but I sure won’t miss the mozzie bites or the sunburn!
So, as I approach my last few months at the unit I was hoping for a bit of a wind down, but obviously the cogs never stop turning and the calendar remains full! The unit will be embarking on Ex KRONOS HUNTER at the end of April, which is a two-week exercise in Cyprus where yours truly will have to borrow a woolly hat and pretend to be an ATI for a fortnight up in the Troodos mountains. Then straight back into the athletics season where the unit will again host the Morrison Cup which is the Royal Signals Athletics Championships. So busier than I’d like... but busy is good – and we thrive on it... apparently!
UK Midlands Cross Country Champs
CO’s Christmas PT

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