Ramstein Rabbits push Airmen to succeed

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hailey Haux
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Several things may go through a person's head when he or she receives that email saying it's time to take a physical training test.

The message could be shrugged it off with confidence, or the person could start working out every day and stress over it.

But if it's the running component that is the stressor, the Ramstein Rabbits can help.

The team was formed in June by a group of co-workers who wanted to push fellow Airmen with that part their PT test.

"We had Airmen in our shop who struggled with the run," said Senior Master Sgt. Don Gurganus, the American Forces Network, Ramstein superintendent and member of Ramstein Rabbits. "They would start off too fast and not be able to finish strong, or too slow and have to make up for lost time."

Since the organization was started, the Ramstein Rabbits have helped eight people with their PT test, all who said they ran faster than they had anticipated.

"When we go out there to pace someone we like to have three people," said Gurganus. "One will run at the pace the tester wants to achieve, one will run about thirty seconds faster than that time, and the third will run right next to the tester and motivate them throughout the run."

With 25 members, at any given PT test there can be between  five and 10 people surrounding the track cheering the tester on and motivating them.

"We don't guarantee the tester will pass," said Gurganus. "But we can promise them a constant pace. However, it is up to the tester to pass the run. We can't run for them, but we do our best to motivate them and keep them going."

When someone asks for help to pace a run, the Ramstein Rabbits try to get together with the tester ahead of time to discuss their PT history, what they struggle with and what their warm-up routine is.

The day of the test, the Rabbits try to remove all mental limitations they can. The tester's watch is taken away and the time keepers are asked not to call the time out when the tester runs by, Gurganus said.

"A lot of the time the tester will impose mental limits, thinking that they can't do it," said Master Sgt. Tracy Duplantis, the AFN Ramstein first sergeant and member of Ramstein Rabbits. "We are there to support them and give them positive thoughts and we get really good results from that."

If a person needs help, they don't have to be embarrassed to ask. The Ramstein Rabbits are there to help anyone and everyone: Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.

"Having the Ramstein Rabbits helps a lot," said Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Segerson, 8the 6th Communications Squadron operations flight branch chief. "They help turn what could be a bad day into a good one."