(Information on how to prepare yourself
Rifle and Pistol Club)
- The term, Marathon Shooting is used to
describe competition shooting over an extended time frame.
In 1994 I was introduced to this branch of shooting by being invited to take part in the
24-hour airgun shoot at Chabris (pronounced, Shabree) in France. Since then I
have shot 6 times in the event and am writing here so as to give the benefit of my
experience, so that anyone else wishing to take part in such a competition will be better
prepared. To a large extent my advice will be of use to anyone taking part in any extended
shooting competition, not just airgun shoots in a foreign country.
- The shoot at Chabris is organised to start at 09:00 on the first Saturday
in November and to finish 24 hours later at 09:00 on the Sunday. The competition itself is
made up of 16 separate 60 shot courses of fire held under International Competition rules,
each course lasts for 1½ hours and the competitors shoot in teams of two. The arrangement
is that one team member shoots and the other rests, then they swap over. Obviously under
this arrangement, each member fires 8 separate 60 shot courses of fire, one course every 3
hours for the 24-hour period. Both rifle and pistol teams are catered for and shoot side
by side as is normal airgun practice, usually with the rifle teams occupying the firing
points to the left of the range.
- Tip 1: Arrive at the venue in good time
after having had as much rest the day before as possible. If it is a long way to the venue
it is much better to get to the location the night before and have a good meal and nights
sleep in a comfortable bed, than travelling on the day. In the case of Chabris we have
always spent Friday night in the village after having an excellent meal in a local
hostelry. Remember that if you like wine with your meal, it is quite cheap in France, but
you do have to get up the next day and shoot for 24 hours!
- Tip 2: Really this is just an extension of
the above. If you are a driver, it is even more important to get the maximum rest before
the competition starts.
- Tip 3: One obvious consequence of the timing
at Chabris and any similar event, is that this late in the year, it gets dark quite early
(about 17:00 local time) and does not become light until about 07:00 the next morning.
This has an impact on what you can do to amuse yourself during the periods when you are
not actually shooting. Take a good book.
- Tip 4: At the start of the competition you
will probably not feel tired, so whatever you do, do not do anything to tire yourself
physically. No long walks to explore the surroundings, I know this sounds obvious, but do
bear it in mind. Remember you are going to be standing up a good deal during an airgun
- Tip 5: When not shooting keep warm. At
Chabris it is possible to lay out a sleeping bag to the rear of the firing point and this
makes a very suitable nest. The point about temperature becomes really quite important
between 01:00 and 05:00 on the Sunday morning; I have always felt very cold around these
hours. If you are cold you will not shoot to your best performance.
- Tip 6: Eat often and sparingly during your
rest periods. Generally go for light, easily digested food, not roast potatoes and
Yorkshire Pudding, pasta is good. No alcohol, tea or coffee drink lots of water.
- Tip 7: Make friends with other shooters, it
will give you something to do during the rest periods.
- Tip 8: Take an alarm clock of some sort to
act as a reminder when it is your turn to shoot again. Your teammate will not be very
happy if you are not there when he is finishes his detail. This becomes more and more of a
necessity as the time wears on in the small hours of the next morning. Rest as much as
possible, you will not get any real sleep, but short naps will help considerably.
- Tip 9: Make sure that your shooting
equipment is properly set up before leaving for the competition. You do not want to be
travelling a long way for an all day event, only to find that your trigger weight is too
low, or that your shooting jacket has one button too many.
- Tip 10: Do not think that your shooting
performance will drop off markedly over time; it won't. I have found that usually my third
60 shot comp is the best of the eight, but the last is not necessarily the worst. Fatigue
does begin to take over towards the end of the 24 hours and if the competitions were to be
extended, to say 30 hours, then most people would start to struggle.
- Tip 11: Make sure that you have your after
shooting rest arrangements made before the competition begins. You will not be at your
negotiating best after 24 hours of high level concentration, a good meal and bed is all
you will really want at this time.
- Tip 12: Rifle shooters especially will need
to make certain that all their shooting clothing fits perfectly. Standing, holding a rifle
for these lengths of time has quite a debilitating effect on the body. At Chabris,
masseurs are on hand (for free) to soothe away any aches and pains. Two years ago I had
acupuncture for a poorly shoulder about two thirds of the way through.
- Tip 13: At the end of the competition be
very careful with alcohol. You could well be somewhat dehydrated and drink can have an
unfortunate effect on the body (diarrhoea). As mentioned above, drink lots of water during
the event and have a supply of your favourite biscuits to eat whilst shooting.
- Tip 14: Take enough airgun pellets. Chabris
requires 8 x 60 = 480 for the main competition, plus say 10 per course of fire for
sighters = 10 x 8 = 80, plus say 20 for the final, makes a grand total of: 580. Normally
at these events CO2 is provided free, but compressed air is not. So if you have a CO2 gun,
no problem, but with high pressure air it will almost certainly be up to you to provide
- Tip 15: A shorter than 24-hour event is much
easier than a full day competition. A 12-hour shoot hardly requires much by way of special
preparation at all.
Good luck ...... Michael Williams
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