Thursday, February 28, 2013

Measuring Up The 1.5 Miles Fitness Test

A 1.5 Miles is used as a gauge in many military units worldwide as a standard of fitness for their personnel. A fit military will likely be a stronger force to reckon with should all other factors remain the same. I have never did or tested myself over the 1.5 miles or 2.4km distance. Maybe out of fear that I will not do as well. This 1.5miles or 2.4km run is actually a modification of Cooper Test. It involves a person (of reasonable fitness) to run as far as possible in the 12minutes duration and the distance covered within that period will be used as the benchmark.
Fighting Fit
The standard for military in Australia and UK is for their personnel to be able to run the 1.5miles distance within 11:18 and 10:30 respectively.
For US, They measure a 2-miles distance and it should be completed within 16:36 to gain 50 points to pass the basic training. 100 points stands at 13:00 (17 years old to 26 years old). South African Army apparently requires you to complete the 1.5miles within 11minutes or less - or do it again with the Drill Sergeant screaming at you from his Land Rover. The Singapore military denotes a 9:45 to be "Grade A" for personnel below 25 years old.
Again, this is basic requirement and different Corp might require you to run way faster, like to be in the SAS, Green Beret etc.
*Sadly, I can't find any details of our own Malaysian Military Basic Fitness Assessment (BFA).
The Run
With my current running fitness to be the best I ever had, i braved myself and it was an impromptu decision to do so. How impromptu was it? It was last Friday when I went to my Alumni Old Putera Association (OPA) for the Chinese New Year function. I reached early and saw that I could squeeze in, possibly a 5km run. That should takes tops, 22minutes - or I can try to score a new 5km PB. I nowadays (since my son has started school), packed a change of clothes, usually the T-shirt from 2ndskin Asia, the Skechers GoBionic (current fav) and my Garmin 910XT. With a towel in the car (luckily i brought a full sized towel, and not a face towel), i sort of changed from my Friday working clothes to running gear in less than 90seconds. I ran from the OPA Building towards Paremba Square. This is the first time I ran here and I have no idea how far this private road would bring me. I started running and it was a hot and humid evening. Weather forecast says it was "32degree C but felt like 39degree C".
I ran past the high-end condos and bungalows and saw Tan Sri Razali on the golf buggy heading towards OPA. Waved but I supposed he must had thought no crazy people would be running in that direction. I past the roundabout and it was 1km. 4:16. Nice. Race pace and at Threshold speed. I ran past the Saujana Clubhouse and traffic was starting to build up with people leaving the office. Had to slow down a little in case cars reversing out of the road side did not see me. I was running against the traffic, if you wondered.
2nd km 4:07, the Garmin beeped.
Mental calculation tells me that I will be able to cover 500m in 2:10, and It was only another 400m to go.
Pushed harder.
2.4km complete. 
Paused the Garmin.
Not too bad. It was a 4 out of 5 star effort - meaning I still have reserves. I re-start the Garmin and continued the run. I U-turned at about KM2.6 and headed to the OPA building and ended the run in a decent 22:18 at 5.28km. It translate to a 21:05 5km (according to the record in Garmin).
How Do I Compare To The Boys?
Armed with the 9:57 timing, I started to do some research (of which the results/standard of various military/defence were listed above). Actually the main reason for me to do this 2.4km or 1.5 miles run was to obtain an approximate value of my VO2max. I've been running 1mile best effort and the question always lingers if I can hack a decent 1.5miles run. I go to a website i frequent known as and used one of the fitness calculator. Key-ed in the appropriate value and these are the results.
Technically still 36.

Was not expecting this MUCH of info
I must say that the site provides more than enough data for the data-whore in me. From the run, I now know:
1. METs or Metabolic Value to be 14.9 times the effort compared to laying down ;)
2. VO2max is 52.04 which puts me at "Excellent", one point short of "Superior" in my age group (30-39)
3. I am 41.78% above normal - meaning pretty average. Haha.
4. Score 95 - which puts me pretty much at the top when compared to the US Military scoring.
5. Excellent - speaks for itself. lets aim to be Superior.
Compared to the various Military Standards for this test, I am considered to be "passing with flying colors" even when compared with anyone below 26 years old. 
Guess the only way to improve is to run faster. ;-) T qualifying for Special Forces (UK) is 9:16 ;-) I have to find ways to cut down the additional 41seconds.
So, after reading this, will you attempt to run your fastest 2.4km or 1 mile and see where you stand? 


  1. Too shy to do it :P Wouldn't be surprised if I score poorly too since I've not been exercising for more than 10 yrs :P

    1. There is nothing shy. It is a benchmark you set for yourself. You train and race for yourself. :)

  2. You're awesome Sir. :-)

    Can't help chuckling over the "techno all still 36" tho because that's exactly what my hubby says too when it comes to his age now. :-P

  3. what a coincidence, i just completed the British Military fitness test incld the 1.5mile run too during my bootcamp session yesterday. sadly, managed to clocked 12min 12 sec only, hahahah

  4. Try making PASKAL basic requirements bro. Although you and I won't pass the age limit, it's a real challenge. Respect to our boys in uniform. The fitness requirements = no joke. But then again, it's our equavalent to the US Navy SEALS, so I wouldn't expect any less.

    1. Paskal require the operative to run 7.8km in 24mins or a 3:00 pace. That is awesome.

      I can only cover 8km in 40mins. :(

      Then again, that is why they are elite.

    2. Seriously? 7.8km in 24 mins? That is SEA Games podium material. More likely a typo in PASKAL website though. If accurate then we should send PASKAL team to SEA games.

    3. Peter - not a typo I hope. I give them benefit of doubt and I've seen how fit these men were before.