We, who are about to die, salute you: Gladiator Assault Challenge 2013

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This may well be the greatest OCR that no one seems to know anything about. Tough terrain, obstacles were fun and a few were very challenging, and I have learned that Wisconsin has its own special breed of mud.

A good friend’s “Welcome home from Iraq” party was the night before, so I checked into the hotel at 3 AM and arrived at the venue on 3 hours of sleep. Met up with the Cornfed crew and headed toward the starting line.

The rest of the team had not yet made it to the starting line when the first wave went off, so I went ahead, figuring they would catch up. (They did.) The start of the race is running straight down a snow-covered ski slope. I had absolutely no control over my pace, if you try to slow down you will fall on your face. A few sections I ended up dropping and sliding down the hill rather than running it.

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The terrain changed to a mix of narrow trails through the woods and crossings of water-logged muck soil that ranged from knee to neck deep.

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The hills on this site are brutal. This is the only race that I have EVER needed to stop and take a knee. I had the nagging voice in the back of my head telling me to quit before hypothermia set in, but I told it to go to hell and pushed on.

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The two toughest obstacles were an uphill tube crawl (after you are coated in the slickest mud on the planet), and a log carry up and down hills leading to a mud pit that you have to carry the log across. I got stuck toward the end of this one. I could stand up and get the log on my shoulder, but when I went to take a step I would fall down. My eventual solution was to flip the log as far as I could, monkey-crawl over to it, and flip it again. Apparently  people behind me thought I was on to something, as the next thing I know there are 5 logs being thrown out of the pit.

Toward the end, there was a rope to help you descend a steep snowy slope. I let go of the rope and slid down the hill with my arms in the air. I met eyes with a woman below, obviously concerned that I was not going to be able to stop. I dropped to my back, dug my elbows in to slow myself, and was able to keep just enough momentum to roll to my feet and take off running. Would have been great if there had been a photographer there, as that had to look freaking cool.

I finished in around 2:45, headed off to the showers, and came back for the finisher’s gear that I had forgotten to pick up. Note to all other OCR organizers, having the finisher’s shirt in a plastic bag is a GREAT idea!

This race had a different feel from Warrior Dash or Spartan Race, and it was definitely a good time. I will be back next year. I am issuing an open challenge: Any course that kicks my ass this badly, will be seeing me again.

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