Have you heard of the exciting new sport, Target Sprint? No? Andy McGarty explains what it is and how it works…
Target Sprint is an exciting new sport that combines running with air rifle shooting. Imagine biathlon without the skis or the need to carry your rifle.
Each competitor runs 400m, followed by the challenge of hitting five knock-down targets using just 15 pellets. This is repeated and then finishes with a last 400m dash to the line. It is a true test of both athleticism and marksmanship.
The rifles are standardised here by using Air Arms’ S400 multi-purpose rifle, and is shot at a distance of 10 metres with the targets being five 50mm discs. The rifles are .177 with peep target sights and adjusted under 6ft lbs. They tend to be shorter, to fit younger shooters. An optional metal butt hook can be fitted to extend length of pull.
Competitors are split into different categories based on age. Youth is 11 to 15; Junior is 16 to 20; and Senior is 21 and over.
In 2017 seven regional qualifiers were held, with winners going through to the final at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex on 9 September. There is a Target Sprint Masterclass the previous evening, aimed at both participants and organisers.
Events in the UK are promoted and run by British Shooting. Former Commonwealth medal-winner and Olympic pistol shooter Gorgs Geikie is the national events and commercial coordinator.
“Target Sprint is a new event, and provides something different, fun and welcoming to all,” she says. “This multi-sport culture is what got me on the road to the Olympics, and you never know – there could be a future Olympian in our fold!”
Team GB sent Junior Men’s and Junior Women’s teams to the recent Target Spring World Championships in Germany.
For more information, click here.
How to run and shoot
1. Pace yourself
Start to slow down for the last 50 metres and walk the last bit to help with your heartbeat recovery before you start shooting. Remember that competition safety protocols do not allow running on the firing point when entering or leaving.
2. Control your breathing
Try to control your breathing to make it regular, and hold on breath out, not breath in, as you will be less tense. Pay close attention to how the sights rise and fall between heartbeats, and shoot when you judge they will be on target.
3. Train hard, compete easy
You can train at your range, or at home if you are dry-firing. If you don’t have access to a track, then a few jumping jacks will get your heartbeat up and allow you to shoot under simulated conditions.