Being an EOD soldier is hard work. You have to think fast under pressure and move quickly, all while wearing a lot of very heavy gear- 96 pounds, to be exact.
EOD soldiers train all the time to remain sharp and to fine-tune their skills. One of the ways EOD soldiers work on their agility is by running with their gear on.
In 2013, Ashley Sorenson set the Guinness World Record for running the mile while wearing a bomb suit. Her time was 11 minutes and six seconds. Inspired by her friend, Capt. Kaitlyn Hernandez decided to train to beat her record.
Hernandez said that Sorenson "was able to give me some advice — just to try and stay calm and remember it's only four more laps. Once somebody put that in perspective, in my head, I knew that I only had to run four more laps, and for the rest of my life, it's done."
She beat Sorensen's time several times while training for the competition and was ready to do the run for real.
Setting The World Record
Due to Covid, the competition was delayed a year to April 3, 2021, and held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. According to Business Insider, Hernandez received support from a veteran non-profit, Task and Purpose.
She felt prepared for the run, but was acutely aware that wearing the suit has it's challenges, especially since the "helmet's definitely the worst part" as it can pull your body in an opposite direction. potentially taking you down.
"You never know how the suit is going to affect you. Sometimes you're feeling really great, and sometimes it punches you in the face. Windy days are pretty rough, too; when you hit a headwind, it feels like you're running in mud."Captain Kaitlyn Hernandez
Hernandez beat Sorenson's time, clocking an impressive 10 minutes and 23 seconds. The men's record is 7 minutes and 24 seconds, and was set by a British soldier in 2017.
Hernandez set a goal for herself and pushed hard to achieve it. As a member of the EOD, she has to push herself hard every day.
For her, a split-second decision can change the outcome.