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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Anna Gibbon: Travel to the Dominican Republic to partake in a Pentathlon Training Camp

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    30 Sep

    Myself and eleven other University Pentathletes went to the Caribbean to develop our skills and fitness before the start of term.

    The 9-day trip saw us swim over 10 km, run over 30km, ride along countless beaches, and spend over 10 hours shooting. It was exhausting but means that we have a strong senior team to carry forward to the next academic year, and cemented that crucial team spirit!

    Day 1 saw us all try to acclimatise to the heat. A combination of jetlag and exhaustion meant that none of us were physically up to much training. Still, a 1.5 hour swim was accomplished, as well as some solid shooting practice. In the evening we decided to explore, embracing the local culture and eating the first of many rice and beans.

    By the second day, we were all feeling much fresher and ready to do some proper training. The morning began with a long, steady run, where we embraced the local scenery of endless white beaches, framed by palm trees. On returning back to Freddy’s, we decided to make the most of being in our running gear and so completed a very sweaty combined (shooting and running session). The afternoon session was dedicated to more swimming, where I led a brutal kick set. By this point the morning’s energy had gone, and it was all we could do to stay awake at dinner.

    Day 3 was dedicated to ‘skills’ training, a relief for all of us whose legs were definitely feeling the previous day’s exertion. So we put ourselves through some fencing footwork, had a very rapid change into some riding gear and mounted our first Caribbean horses. Within minutes we had made it to the beach and even the less competent riders had managed to make it into a gallop!

    By day 4, we had all fallen into a regular pattern of eating, training, and sleeping. For the rest of the trip, we continued to alternate endurance days, with skill days. The two graduate pentathletes who came along to help with coaching ensured we kept the intensity up, and we came to day 8 absolutely exhausted but very happy.

    Aside from the training, we also managed to explore the local area and did a couple of excursions. Particular favourites were trekking to the highest point of the island; cannoning and repelling down waterfalls; and both surfing and paddle-boarding in the sea.

    So all in all an exhausting trip, but one that was that amazing fun and very worthwhile; and the best start to my captaincy of the team! Thank-you so much to Gateway for making this possible.