By MC1 Charles Panter
Maritime Patrol and
Reconnaissance Weapons School
At 5 a.m. most of the U.S. population is fast asleep or possibly rolling out of bed to start their day. For one Burke, Virginia, native, his first workout is coming to an end - a short five-mile run to start the day. The Jacksonville heat makes it nearly impossible for this dedicated triathlete to train other times of the day.
Lt. Kyle Hooker, 30, a P-3C Orion pilot and advance weapons and tactics instructor for the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, is the Armed Forces' National Triathlon champion for three years running.
"I took first overall again this year," said Hooker.
"This is my third consecutive year winning the open division. It was a really good race. I finished in an hour and 50 minutes, about 30 seconds in front of the second place guy."
Hooker headed out of the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM), French for International Military Sports Council, World Military Triathlon Championship Aug 1. First stopping in Virginia for a short training camp before continuing on to Warendorf, Germany where this year's competition was held Aug. 5.
"Worlds is a very different competition," said Hooker.
"You get the Olympic level athletes who are technically in the military, but they train 24/7 for their respective sports. There are probably going to be 10 legitimate Olympic athletes at the race and at least another 10 developmental athletes. So you're looking at a pretty intense competition."
"The plan is to always identify someone on your team who is strong in each leg and work together," said Hooker.
Hooker didn't get to this competition by himself. His coach, Jim Felty, keeps him on an intense schedule of two workouts a day. Hooker runs early in the morning and bikes in the evenings on a stationary trainer.
"So ideally I am done running before the sun comes up, or right after it comes up, otherwise it's just too hot," said Hooker.
"At lunch, the pool is open on base, so I swim Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then I cycle on a stationary trainer at home after work."
"Weekends, it's game on for lots of training," he continued.
"Usually I'll meet up with a group and ride down by the beach and hammer it out for two to three hours in the early morning. Sunday is usually a long run day. I wake up early and go for a 10 to 12-mile run."
According to Milsport.one, CISM was created in 1948 with the desire amongst the five founding nations, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, to meet in the sports arena, not on the battlefield. The U.S. joined in 1951. Over the years, membership has increased to 133 nations. It is recognized as one of the biggest sports institutions in the world.
The sports council consists of 24 sports ranging from basketball to sailing. It also has events such as orienteering, aeronautical pentathlon and parachuting that are unique to the military.
Hooker started his triathlon endeavor at the U.S. Naval Academy, joining the collegiate team in his junior year. A week after graduation, he joined the Navy Sports team, qualifying after he graduated.
"It's not difficult to get into Navy Sports," said Hooker. "The application is online as well as a calendar of national championship events. Some sports have a training camp associated with them and a bunch will have a world championships.
"My advice is to keep track of when an application is due, talk to the identified coach (on the website) and that will start the process. Some sports, like triathlon, you have to prove that you're quick enough for the team. Usually you submit race results."
"Sometimes it becomes difficult while on sea tour or if your command deploys but operational commitments trump Navy sports," said Hooker. "But stay proactive, keep your command informed and hopefully they will support you like my command has."
To see the CISM results when posted go to http://armedforcessports.defense.gov.