Friday, December 16, 2005

Marine Exam

I second Tom Smith's comment -- "Bias against the Bulky" -- about this article that briefly mentions the Marine Corps' physical exam:
He said if I wanted a shot at this I'd have to ace the physical fitness test, where a perfect score consisted of 20 pull-ups, 100 crunches in two minutes, and a three-mile run in 18 minutes.
3 miles in 18 minutes? 20 pullups? Those are very different tasks for someone who weighs 225 vs. someone who weighs 160.

I've thought about this a lot when I look at the world-class marathoners who run 26.2 miles in 2:10 or under -- a 5-minute mile pace. That is simply mind-boggling to me. But then I remember that these marathoners usually weigh about 80 pounds less than me. They carry a little bit less bodyfat, but it's mostly because they're shorter and less muscular. So strap an 80-pound backpack on them, and see how far or fast they could run then. (Well, ok, they'd still leave me in the dust, but not by as great a margin.)

Anyway, shouldn't these Marine tests -- runs, pullups -- be handicapped to account for the person's height and bulk?


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