Most military veterans will remember the 2.4 km run, it’s a test that is permanently burned into memory; the “two comma four” run is a fitness threshold and has to be completed in under 12 minutes. No easy run, especially when you consider the run is done in military fatigues with boots, webbing, assault rifle and helmet.
At all phases of South African military training, from basics onwards and even after training the 2.4 km run was used to establish the fitness and readiness of all serving personnel (so too a little cheating as this author was to find out when senior officers were called out to complete the run – only to run around a wall and wait till the younger and fitter officers to come back and rejoin them).
Those national servicemen who did “Junior Leaders” (JL’s) officers or non-commissioned officers course as part of their National Service were expected to meet this minimum standard of 12 min or less for this run, running with rifle, webbing and helmet to complete their ‘officers course’.
“Pah” I hear some runners out there say – easy! So here’s a challenge – map out a 2.4 Km run, find a pair of leather sole shoes or boots (no nice running shoes), then add 18 kg odd in lead weights to a backpack (this will simulate the weight of the “helmet”, “rifle” and “webbing”) – and then head out for a sub 12 minutes and let us know how you get along.
For interest the 1.5 mile (2.4 km) test is known as “The Cooper test”, originally designed by Kenneth H. Cooper in 1968 for US military use to test for physical fitness.
Written and researched by Peter Dickens
In 1967 our test of this was 5 mile in under an hour with the same equipment. Walking no jogging but we did cheat when they weren’t looking ! Took me 58 min 32 secs stuffed we were?
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At 7 SAI we had to do a speed March deep into the Kruger National Park to earn the Rooikat beret badge. Was that a 5 miler? The two comma four was a beast!
At 5 SAI we ALL had to do it regularly or no weekend pass. And putting 18 kg in a backpack would have been easier than having that damn 5kg rifle slapping into your leg