Chief of the National Guard Biathlon Race Held at Minnesota National Guard’s Camp Ripley

February 15, 2022 (Little Falls, Minnesota)– Starting this past Saturday, Camp Ripley is hosting the Annual Chief of the National Guard Biathlon Race, with more than 120 competitors from 20 states competing for the championship.

“We are always excited to host this event on the base,” said Army Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse, the Minnesota National Guard’s Assistant Adjutant General, and Camp Ripley’s Senior Commander. “We enjoy watching these service members show their athletic ability and be able to provide them with great facilities and support while they are here.”

Competitors will train and race on Camp Ripley’s dedicated biathlon range for five days. This biathlon consists of four races: the Sprint Race in 30-second intervals, the Pursuit Race of 14-second intervals, the Relay race, and the unique Patrol Race designed to mirror a specific military operation. Biathlon training helps Soldiers and Airmen by working on important skills required of a service member, such as physical fitness and marksmanship.

“The National Guard is always looking to lead the way in how to incorporate new ways to train, and I think the biathlon race is a perfect spot to do that,” added Kruse. “Camp Ripley provides the perfect conditions to be able to train in a cold-weather environment and shoot while under a stressful environment.”

“Our Minnesota National Guard Biathlon team is a diverse group, consisting of four females and seven males and is a mix of officers and enlisted,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Lindberg, an athlete who coordinates Minnesota’s team with the National Guards Biathlon Headquarters in Vermont. “And to add to the value the Minnesota National Guard places on partnerships, four Croatian military members have joined in the competition. We are fortunate to train beside our military partners of more than 25 years.”

“The National Guard has three biathletes currently participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics,” said Lindberg. These service members come from other states.

Minnesota National Guard athlete, Army Sgt. Jakob Ellingson, is participating as a competitor. He won the Minnesota Best Warrior Competition, competed in the National Best Warrior Competition, and most recently, in December, graduated from Ranger School at Ft. Benning in Georgia. I’m thankful for the Guard as they have given me so many cool opportunities to go and do some things, said Ellingson. “I got to do some competitions in Croatia and even cool places here at home. Fitness is a huge thing at Army schools, so being in good shape and training for a biathlon helped.”