KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Three members of Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., participated in the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association area qualifier adult competition, in Albuquerque, N.M., Dec. 9.
1st Lt. Eddie Hilburn, Air Force Research Lab optical physicist, 2nd Lt. Zoe Casteel, Air Force Research Lab space systems engineer, and Tech. Sgt. David Krause, 58th Maintenance Squadron CV-22 “Osprey” crew chief, all placed in the competition.
Hilburn placed second in the amateur division and Krause placed second overall with a time of five minutes and forty-five seconds. With the completion of the area qualifier, they will both move on to the regional qualifier in June.
The Kirtland competitors, along with 35 others, were each given seven minutes and thirty seconds to complete the 15 obstacles on the course.
“Everybody you meet in the ninja obstacle course family are the groups of people you want around you,” said Krause. “Being around people who challenge you helps you get better. Everyone is very driven and going after the same goals.”
This isn’t the first time the ninja course competitors have teamed up before. Aside from training together, they all participated in the U.S. Air Force Alpha Warrior competition. The Alpha Warrior Final Battle was held Nov. 11 at Retama Park in Selma, Texas. The top male and female winners from 15 regional competitions, as well as the top 10 male and 10 female competitors with the best course runs from across the Air Force, competed for the Air Force Alpha Warrior title.
Casteel and Krause were regional winners that earned an invite to the finals. Hilburn posted one of the top times Air Force wide and also received an invitation to the event. At the finals, Hilburn placed ninth, Krause placed eighth and Casteel placed fourth in their respective divisions. The Kirtland Alpha Warriors will compete again next year and look to place higher.
“I think it gives people the opportunity to do something different with fitness,” Hilburn said. “The Air Force is big on fitness for obvious reasons. This is another way to go about it that can hold people’s attention. It’s interesting, there’s always a new problem to solve and it’s really cool the Air Force is going this way with fitness.”