Military-style fitness camp

02:30, Dec 10 2012
Libby Craighead
Team effort: Cactus members, from front: Libby Craighead, Braydon O’Brien and Holly Partridge carry a log from Pollard Park to Raupo Cafe as part of their 'longest day' test to complete the eight-week, military-style fitness coursente

Two dozen teenagers from Marlborough completed a gruelling eight-week, military-style fitness camp on Saturday by completing a series of individual and team-building exercises around Blenheim.

The Marlborough Boys' and Marlborough Girls' College students were put through their paces one last time by their Cactus (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit Support) trainers so they could successfully complete the course and collect their certificates.

The day consisted of five hours of intense physical activity, from carrying stretchers and logs, to pulling a fire truck around town.

They started at 7am and finished at 12pm making Saturday their longest day of the programme.

Throughout the eight weeks, the teens were up at 6am three times a week for hill sprints, river runs and problem-solving exercises.

Blenheim Cactus co-ordinator Dean Buckley said the course helped build character and gave the children more confidence.


Mr Buckley remembered the first morning the students turned up for class.

"They sauntered in with their shirts out," he said. " I was amazed they came back the next day. Actually, one person did ring up and said, ‘This isn't for me'."

Cactus trainer Frank Burns said 16 students had fainted or thrown up on the first day.

But they had put in a fantastic effort, he said.

Marlborough area commander inspector Steve Caldwell helped to hand out the certificates on Saturday.

Anything worth achieving in life was going to be hard, he said.

"I know you are hurting now and you'll be hurting even more tomorrow but you should be very proud."

Marlborough Girls' College student Pippa Andrews, 16, won the Cactus Cup for best all-rounder along with Dominic Muollo-Gray from Marlborough Boys' College.

The Marlborough Express