Inside NYS Intensive Training: A Look at the Dreaded Log Race [VIDEO]

National Youth Service trainees engaged in an exercise in Gilgil September 2018.
National Youth Service trainees engaged in an exercise in Gilgil in September 2018.

The National Youth Service (NYS) training is one of the most intense trainings in the country whereby recruits have to undergo a strenuous process before they pass the program.

For young recruits seeking to join the service, they have to undergo two phases of the course; hardcore paramilitary training and vocational courses of a trainee's chosen field.

While undertaking the paramilitary training, the recruits undergo rigorous drills such as running over long distances, low crawl over long distances as well as carrying your colleague (in a fireman's carry position) while racing.

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Part of the assault course training involves the dreaded log races. This primarily entails different variations of the log exercises such as carrying their colleagues while holding a log, doing sit-ups with the log clutched in your hands. Further, another version of log races involves the recruits running along an off-road area at top speed with the logs placed on their shoulders.

In videos seen by, the trainees traverse murky terrain while giving a rallying cry in a bid to psych themselves up.

Speaking to this writer, a former NYS Junior instructor and trainer, Julius Kaitha, entailed the reason for the strenuous process.

"For the fireman's carry, we imagine a scenario where we're in enemy territory or have been attacked and your colleague is injured. So the exercise mirrors the situation whereby you have to save your colleague's life while also carrying your firearm to ensure your safety."

He noted that the log used during training regimens represents the exact weight of the firearm that one carries during missions. 

"You have to bear the weight during training in order to adapt to the situation. The process is easy, it depends on one's determination and ability," he expounded.

He also painted a real picture of a typical day for an NYS trainee while in the camp.

"A typical day varies depending on the rank, but for a beginner you will sleep at around 11 am and wake up at around 2 am. This is also part of the training."

"The moment you wake up, you begin physical training where all the recruits have to run a particular distance," he detailed. 

"Once you're done, then we proceed to daily cleaning where we cleaned our sleeping area.At around 4 am, we proceeded to do parade rehearsals."

The first phase also involves stealth training where recruits are trained on how to crawl in enemy territory while covered in vegetation (camouflage).

The next part of the program involves self defense training which involves hand to hand combat training in muddy areas. The second and final part of the NYS course involves attending vocational training institutes of a trainee's chosen field.

Trainees undertake courses in fashion and design, engineering, catering, business management, secretarial, plant operation, driving, construction among others.

The vocational training begins once a recruit is done with the basic training and the period depends on the type of course chosen. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking on Saturday, April 24, 2021.
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking on Saturday, April 24, 2021.
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