Think you could run 2.4 kilometres in under eight minutes and then do 130 sit-ups followed by 55 press-ups back to back?

That is the fitness level New Zealand Army officers and soldiers aspire to reach, though not all do.

But one Turangi teenager has successfully completed the aptly named 100 Club and is the only New Zealand Services Cadet to have done so.

Tongariro School's Struan Penrose set his sights on the challenge during the recent school holidays while at Linton Army Camp.


The 17-year-old, who is part of Tongariro School's Services Academy, said he had been training for the challenge but the battle was more mental than physical. Even he was surprised to learn he had completed the first hurdle of the challenge, the 2.4km run in just seven minutes and 30 seconds with his closest competitor an entire minute behind him.

"It's not really physical, it's more a mental challenge. You've got to think positive, you've got to tell yourself you can do it," says Struan.

Out of the 32 males who attempted the challenge, Struan was the only one to successfully complete the task.

The Year 13 student has his sights firmly set on a career with the Army and hopes to pursue a position as a Field Engineer working primarily with explosives. He has applied for the Army and hopes to make it into next February's intake.

Tongariro School's Services Academy was established this year and is just one of 24 Services Academies in New Zealand. It caters for students in years 11, 12 and 13 and currently 17 students are completing the course.

While English and maths remain compulsory subjects, cadets are learning other important life skills such as team building, bush craft and military inductions through activities including hiking, rafting, mountain biking and lifesaving.

Academy director George Jensen says early on in the year cadets are encouraged to identify an area within the Defence Forces they would ultimately like to move into.

From there the appropriate unit standards are selected and a pathway is formed to aid students in reaching their desired career path. The course of education is almost tailor made to suit each student's ultimate career goal.

Struan said the training and principles that the Academy stands by, which include respect, integrity, loyalty, discipline, camaraderie, commitment and courage, greatly helped him in achieving his recent 100 Club success.

Next up for the cadets is the inter-academy challenge next month which will see 10 of the country's service academies go head to head in a series of physical challenges including a 30km mountain bike, an 18km tramp across a section of the notorious Goat Track, hiking 20km of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and a rafting trip down the Tongariro River.

As for next year, one Tongariro School Service Academy cadet has applied for the New Zealand Navy, while a further two cadets have applied for the New Zealand Army's February 2013 intake.