I was excited to see what this race had in store for its second year, and even more excited when I learned that we were using the same training ground as the US military. Awesome race supporting an awesome charity.
This race did not get the level of attendance that it deserved, and as the elites and 2 and 4 man teams moved out, we realized that the open wave would total under a dozen people. We decided to move as a team to make sure no one got left behind and to help out some of the athletes who were a little unsure of their abilities. The nasty rumors that the ruck was roughly twice the distance expected also factored in to this decision.
At the start line, we received the additional instructions that we were doing a water and ammo resupply mission. In addition to the required ruck weight, each person had to carry either a case of bottled water or an ammo can. Those of us that could strapped it to our rucks, those who couldn’t carried it however they could. We moved out following gravel roads, switching out weights as needed.
The team I ended up with were different from most that I have run with, but also a lot of fun. Silly jokes along the way, stopping for group selfies.
We reached our first checkpoint and were allowed to drop our additional weight and move on with just our rucks. The area we were moving through was a mock-up of a foreign village, very interesting to see the areas where our troops train.
Next checkpoint, drop rucks and move on unloaded. The joking and shenanigans continued as we moved. One of the teammates jokingly said that she needed carried, so this happened:
And then it caught on.
Next checkpoint, receive one of our dog tags and turn around to head back to our rucks. Stopped for a group shot:
and moved out.
Back to the first checkpoint and found out that we needed to carry the gear we had dropped off there back to the start point.
Between the hilly terrain and everyone being a bit tired, this leg of the ruck was the hardest. Several of the group started to break down and the rest of us stepped up to carry their weight.
A truck pulled up to us, the driver offered to take our extra weight, and gave us a warning: He had already received “Warning One,” meaning he had to have this conversation with us. He would shortly be given Warning Two, meaning he had to take all of our extra weight. At Warning Three, he would pick us up and give us a ride back to the start point.
One of the team dropped off their extra weight, and we all stepped up our pace. I was truly proud of some of the weaker of the group. They pushed like hell for that last two miles.
We got no word of further warnings, made it back to the start point, dropped our rucks, and started the obstacle course.
I made it through the stump jump easily and went back to spot some of my teammates.
Next was the Weaver, which only one of our group was able to complete.
The reverse ladder, which most of us were able to complete.
When we got to the Dirty Name, I was able to make it unassisted. The cadre at this point asked if we were a team. I responded that we were “a team in practice, but not in name.” He laughed and said that we could put someone on top to help the rest through, so I climbed up, and others helped from below.
Next was a torture device called the Tough Nut
the low wire crawl
the Tarzan swing
and a series of different height hurdles to go over.
We were next instructed on the confidence climb, told how to complete it while keeping 3 points of contact, and went after it one at a time.
I reached a point where I could not reach the next rung without going down to only one point of contact, so I stopped at that level and went back down.
Made it over the reverse wall and helped get the rest of the team over.
The last obstacle was appropriately called the Tough One. My leg cramped up and I failed to make it up the rope.
After everyone else had had a go at it, we suddenly realized that this was the end of the course and made a mad dash to be the first to cross the last 50 feet to the finish line.
We moved on to the shooting portion of the competition, 10 shots each with .40 cal Glock and AR15, using the Army’s reactive target range.
Pistol was at 20 and 25 yards, and I managed 3 hits. Need practice.
Rifle was at 100 and 150 yards. I hit 7, with all of my misses being close but a touch low. The cadre asked if I wanted to go again. Second time my first shot at each distance went high, but after adjusting the remaining 8 were all hits.
All I can say is that I can’t wait to do it again.