Ramstein Rabbits push Airmen to succeed

by Airman 1st Class Hailey Haux
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

What goes through your head when you receive that email saying it’s time for you to take your physical training test?

Do you shrug it off with confidence knowing you are going to pass?
Or do you start working out every day and stress over it?
If it’s the running component that is your stressor, the Ramstein Rabbits can help with that. This team was formed in early June by a group of co-workers who wanted to push their 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, 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 of whom said they ran faster than they had anticipated.
“When we go out there to pace someone we like to have three people,” Gurganus said. “One will run at the pace the tester wants to achieve, one will run about 30 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 five to 10 people surrounding the track cheering the tester on and motivating them.

“We don’t guarantee the tester will pass,” Gurganus said. “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 all mental limitations are removed. Their watch is taken away and the timers 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, 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 — Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.
“Having the Ramstein Rabbits helps a lot,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Segerson, 86th Communications Squadron operations flight branch chief. “They help turn what could be a bad day into a good one.”

There are both male and female pacers to help out, Gurganus said.
The Ramstein Rabbits have a Facebook page where anyone can leave a message if they need a pacer for their next PT test. They can also be reached through any Ramstein first sergeant.