Croughton Pathfinders increase on-base training options

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason W. Cochran
  • 501CSW/PA

Personnel at RAF Croughton will soon be able to work out in ways that better suit a wide array of fitness goals.

Matt Sumpter, 422d ABS fitness center director, has extensive experience and education in strength and conditioning and saw a need to improve the facilities on base to encourage engaging and productive training.

“We needed a proper performance based room that is equipped to deal with tactical strength and conditioning, which is really beneficial for troops and first responders, which is the primary demographic we have here,” said Sumpter. “We haven't got the biggest facility compared to others across the Air Force, but we always try to fit in as much equipment as we can.”
Space constraints led Sumpter to look for areas that could be repurposed to support a new training area.

“Previously we had a racquetball court,” said Sumpter. “I have been here eight years and can count on two hands how many times it has been used.”
This led to a decision to convert the racquetball court into a Crossfit-style training room.

“The number one challenge of getting this accomplished was funding,” said Sumpter. “When I first pitched the idea to our commander at the time, he was all for it. It just took time to figure out which pots of money it would come out of. Additionally we had to make sure we were up to both U.S. and U.K. code when planning and building the room.”

The increase in available exercise opportunities will have a sizeable benefit for RAF Croughton’s community, said Sumpter.

“One of the main positives is we have a lot of people on base that join gyms elsewhere because they are looking for a Crossfit-like experience which we simply don't have,” said Sumpter. “So we are creating a space where we’re getting all of the equipment together so people can come here as a one-stop shop.”

Construction on the conversion is scheduled for completion around the middle of March.

“We want people to come to this place and, even if it’s smaller than what they might be used to at bigger bases, think that this is their favorite gym they’ve been to,” said Sumpter. “That is our goal.”