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Posts Tagged ‘adventure race’

24/7 Superhero Obstacle Course Challenge Trail Race

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Our Serious Running friend Brian Ansley tells about the Superhero Obstacle Course Challenge.  Even though Brian is a real life superhero, you can be a regular human and still enjoy this race.  He says:

I had a lot of my mind as I pullesuperhero-obstacle-course-challenge-texas-trail-running-raced out of my motel in Dripping Springs, Texas around 6:15 AM to make way to the Flat Creek Crossing Ranch.  This morning I was going to be competition in the obstacles that have made this unique race.  My heat wasn’t set to start until 8 AM, but I was scheduled to do an interview with the videographer at 7 (I’m famous).  I made my way down the dark and winding roads of the Texas Hill country, concentrating on the race that was ahead of me.  I thought of the 7 miles of rocky terrain and the 24 obstacles that I must conquer.  In spite of what I had on my mind, I couldn’t help but smile.  A familiar smile I get every morning before a race.  It was race day and I was ready.

When I arrived at the ranch I received my race packet and linked up with the videographer.  During the interview the main thing I tried to stress is the camaraderie and positive environment at the race venues.  I can recall battling out that last few miles of a tough trail race with a fellow runner, a total stranger, but hugging him at the finish line as sign of respect for their talent and determination.  I played a lot of sports growing up, but none of them have given me the satisfaction of running or endurance racing.  Once I finished the interview I had about 30 minutes to relax and watch the sunrise from behind the hills.  It was perfect.

I trotted up the hill to the start line about 10 minutes before the race.  I assessed some of my competition and then listened to the race director’s last minute instructions about course markings.  The next thing I knew the race had started!  I noticed right off that bat that this race was technical.  I have done several trail races, but never with terrain this rocky.  The elevation shifts were remarkable as well.  The inclines were exceptionally rugged, and it took a lot of focus to make it up with speed.  The declines were just as rough.  You had to make sure your feet were set on the way down in order to maintain your stability.  In other words, this was not your typical Piney Woods trail!

I made my way out to an open field to complete a sandbag carry, traverse a wall, and a few other obstacles.  Thsuperhero-obstacle-course-trail-running-texase trail then took me back into the canyon to the tire flip, boulder hop, and then the creek crossing obstacles.  I made the vertical climb out of the canyon and back on the rugged trail again.  The remainder of the trail seemed to be a steady vertical rise at this point.  With approximately three miles to go in the race, I decided to turn up the pace.  I completed the wall jump and sprinted my way down the trail.  I could hear the cheering and the announcer.  I continued to accelerate my way through the trail.  I threw myself under one last low crawl obstacle and then rushed up the muddy hill to slide into the Muddy Mayhem obstacle.  I low crawled through the muddy water as the crowd cheered and race as hard as I could to the finish line.  The race was complete and there was a medal being placed around my neck.  I felt the familiar smile returning to my face.

I waited at the top of the hill for the guy that was behind me to finish.  We ran together for a couple of miles, completed a few obstacles together, and did the creek crossing.  We congratulated each other and shook hands.  We both thanked each other as well.  This is the type of unity that races like 24/7 Superhero Obstacle Course Challenge brings to communities.  As a Veteran, this is something that I miss.  Racing is definitely something that fulfills that desire that I no longer have with my brothers in arms.  Of course I will always have that brotherhood with my fellow paratroopers.  I have found racing to be such a pleasurable experience.  Thank you Rafael Trinidad for giving me the opportunity to run in your outstanding race.

I had the pleasure of meeting Rafael “Trini” Trinidad, the founder of the 24/7 Superhero Obstacle Course Challenge.  Rafael is from San Antonio and is a member of the San Antonio Police Department and SWAT team.  No wonder he knows how to make obstacles and endurance races!  The 24/7 Superhero Obstacle Course Challenge is run within Rafael’s family.  I asked him about his goals with the race.  He said, “I would eventually like to expand.  I would like to try and take the race to Houston and Dallas.”  I told him Houston and Dallas probably couldn’t handle a race like this.  Maybe he’ll give you a chance see in the future!  The charity that the races raises money for is Kidd’s Kids.  This is a fantastic organization that helps raise money for the terminally and chronically ill children.  Rafael will also be hosting the Superhero Run in San Antonio at the beginning of 2012.  He said, “The main goal is to promote fitness and fun.”  It will consist of a 10k, 5k, and 1k even for the kids.  Keep checking the 24/7 Superhero Obstacle Course Challenge Facebook page for more updates on this event, or go to kiddskids to rally round an excellent cause.

Spartan Adventure Race – Texas Recap

Monday, March 28th, 2011

We’ve been hearing a lot about thesspartan-adventure-race-houstone adventure races lately and our first thought was, “So they are like trail running but with man made obstacles?”  Adventure races seem to be really fun and challenging, which are two of our favorite words, so we thought we’d have our contributing blog writer Brian Ansley, the Great American, check one out for us.  He competed in the Spartan Race Texas this past weekend and here is what he thought:

I pulled into Rocky Hill Ranch about 10:15 this past Saturday morning and followed a path into an open field with what seemed to be hundreds of cars parked for the Spartan Race.  I have done several races in the past, including the Houston Triathlon last September; however, this was going to be my first adventure race.  I was definitely up for the challenge and excited about the course I had heard so much about.  As I was walking to the packet pick up line I heard a huge explosion go off!  Someone said, “A new heat just started!”  I hadn’t been in many races with heats, usually everyone starts at the same time.  I knew this race was more about the challenge of finishing rather than competing against other participants.  I love competing against myself, because I always win (insert “bi-winning” joke here).  After I received my packet I made it way closer to the start line so I could get a good look at the action.  There was a man dressed up in full Spartan attire pumping everybody up right before the race began.  I couldn’t wait for my heat to start!

Before I knew it, 11:30 was almost here.  I took a last minute drink of water and made my way to the starting line.  The Spartan hype man grabbed his microphone and began pumping up the crowd like Technotronic circa 1989.  Everyone in the crowd would reply to his statements with, AROOO!!!  I was ready.  Boom!  The familiar explosion that starts the race echoed through air.  Not knowing what to expect I began my first adventure race

As I made my way down the course my first obstacle was a massive marsh area, followed by a flaming pit that I was forced to leap over; better than running straight through I suppose.  The next mile or so was nothing but soaring hills to wear down your legs for the remainder of the race.  After an extensive low crawl under barbwire, two more water crossings, and the completion of an 8 ft wall, I was nearly complete.  As I ran the last set of obstacles I sprinted to the finish line.  As I rounded the corner thinking I was in the clear I spotted a couple of massive men dressed in Spartan attire just like the hype man at the beginning of the race.  The only difference was that these guys weren’t holding microphones, they were holding padded sticks!  I tried to put my best moves I learned from American Gladiators but it didn’t work.  They both struck me with their sticks at the same time!  However, I can say I proudly crossed the finish line on both feet.  As an avid racer, I found that adventure races challenge me in a way that other events haven’t.  The combination of running and obstacles together provide a demanding, yet exciting setting for a race.

The course was easily marked throughout and there was also a sufficient amount of volunteers to guide you if you were not sure.  The obstacles were rather challenging and incredibly fun.  The organization at this race was handled very well, especially given the amount of participants.  I can honestly say I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.  Two thumbs up for the Spartan Race!  I can definitely see more adventure races in my future.  AROOO!!!

Death Race: You May Die in Vermont

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

death-race-vermontThe Death Race could be one of the most difficult adventure races known to man (or woman).  The tagline of this race is, ‘You May Die.’  Yeah, that sounds pretty gnarly.  But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right?  Well signing the three word race waiver that states, “I might die” may make you second guess that statement.  The race is 24 hours of physical and psychological challenges full of barbed wire, sharp rocks, mental tasks, and carrying things for no particular reason.  There are no ground rules so you can’t train for this race, just be ready to kill yourself.  It’s like any race though, 95% mental right?  Well, probably more like 110% mental; and I realize that giving anything more than 100% is mathematically impossible…

Race Director Joe DeSena says, “…failure always comes when there’s a lack of commitment.”  Joe knows about hard work and commitment.  He’s from Howard Beach, Queens where he parlayed a pool cleaning business into a job on Wall Street.  Who knew they had pools in downtown Manhattan?  From that job Joe made a small fortune and bought a 400-acre spread in the Green Mountains.  There he has established a securities trading concern, a wedding retreat, and yoga studio.  This smart businessman even bought the local trading post, why let someone else make money on the increased visitors you attracted to this small town?  When Joe isn’t busy building a small town empire he runs Ironman triathlons which include desert crossings, river safaris, and ice treks.  Joe wanted to create a race that separates the tough from the mentally tough.  He even discourages participants during the race, telling them to just quit.  Sounds like a combination of my fraternity hell week, Ranger school experience, and my “nothing was ever good enough” father.  Sign me up!

Here’s a race recap, so you can expect the unexpected.  From 8-12 on a Friday night you take your bike and mandatory gear up 1800 feet to get instructions and make your game plan, then go back down the hill to try to sleep from 12-330, race starts at 4:00 AM.  First you crawl uphill in a ditch under barbed wire until you get to a bunch of 1 foot tree stumps.  You have to find the stump with your number on it.  The task is to dig the tree stump out of the ground with the roots using an axe or any other equipment you may have.  If you don’t do this in 2 hours, you’re already out of the race.  Thanks for trying.  Once you get the stump out of the ground you have to carry the stump, along with your other gear, back down the barbed wire ditch.  You then grab your bike and other equipment and crawl down another barbed wire ditch leading to a rocky river.  You walk about a mile or two down the river, filled with only jagged rocks on the bottom, until you come to a man with a single match (not waterproof).  Take the match, turn around, go back upstream, and up the ditch you just came from, still carrying all of your equipment and the stump.  You are led to a pile of 20 large logs where you must quarter split every log.  Some logs can take up to 30-40 minutes to split.  Make 6 of the splits small because you will be taking 6 logs, along with your bike, gear, stump, and match with you.  You go for about a mile where you can drop the logs before climbing up a steep mountain.  At the top of the mountain you have to memorize 10 names.  Turn around and go back down the mountain to recite the names, if you mess up guess where you are going back up to.  Once passing this task you get into another barbed wire ditch and crawl to a foot bridge with Legos on it.  You must memorize the Lego structure and colors and go back down the ditch.  You come to a pond where there is a bag of Legos for you to recreate the Legos formation you just saw.  You then travel back down to the rocky river, but this time you make a right and go upstream to a flame and torch in the middle of the river.  You must then search for a hidden chicken egg in the forest.  You must find some wood and make a fire to boil water (hope you still have that match) to cook the egg then eat it (I’m allergic to eggs, otherwise I’d do this race).  After completing this task you go over a hill where your bike tires are and ride to the finish.  Of course not before adding 20% of your body weight worth of rocks to you.  Try balancing that.  Sound easy?  Then you must be confident like Donald Trump.  DT’s gone broke multiple times you know.

Or if you want to see what you are really made of then sign up.  Still not sure if you can handle it?  Check out this video that shows some sections of the course.  Still not sure?  Try it anyway, don’t worry, you may die.

Project Athena Races Series: Virginia Beach

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

project-athena-race-seriesI know is all about trail running but sometimes extreme endurance sports bring out stories and causes that need to be talked about; and Project Athena Foundation is one of those.  I met founder Robyn Benincasa at a running store event a while back, along with her associate in the Project Athena Foundation, Victoria Seahorn who is also the founder of the XTERRA Colorado Trail Race Series.  There’s your trail running connection die hards.  They are currently promoting their newest event in Virginia Beach on November 20th, the AKALI Project Athena Racing Series.

Why run this event?  Because helping others is better than any runner’s high you’ve ever gotten.  As a two-time cancer survivor, Norfolk resident Sara Jones became an Athena last year.  She is now fighting for a third time, a personal battle with terminal metastatic breast cancer; this event is to raise awareness and funds for Sara and the rest of the Project Athena Foundation.

It was just three years ago that Robyn Benincasa and four friends brought a dream to reality by creating the Project Athena Foundation.  All of these women were serious athletes and all had faced medical setbacks in their lives.  Through sport and through the support of one another, they were able to regain active lifestyles.  The non-profit organization provides a “goddess” network to help women not just survive medical setbacks, but to strive for more and unleash the athlete within themselves.  Since 2008, 30 women have received Athenaships, or grants, to participate in some awesome events.  Sara Jones who had to retire from her job as a Norfolk area firefighter, was an Athenaship recipient last year and participated in the 155-Kilometer Coastal Challenge rain forest expedition run in Costa Rica.  Sounds like some gnarly trail running to me.

The event will be held on November 20th at First Landing State Park in Virgina Beach, Virginia.  The unique recreational series offers a variety of run/walk/adventure activities for all skill levels and age groups.  They will have a 15K God/Goddess Race, 6K Athena Team Trek, and Merrell Mini Athena & Mini Zues Kidz Challenge.  There is a 20% discount on all registration fees for military and their dependents, the registration code is PAFmilitary (case sensitive).  I was in the Army so I can tell you, impersonating military personnel is a serious offense.  Registration is $45 per adult and $25 per child.  Race day registration is $55 per adult and $35 for children so register now!

Run this event on November 20th in the Virginia Beach area, meet some amazing people who have overcome obstacles to achieve great things, and help others that are less fortunate than yourself.  Sounds like a beautiful Saturday morning run to me!

18th Annual Running the Blues 5K Run & 2.5K Walk

Friday, March 27th, 2009

running-the-blues-5k1It’s time again for the 18th Annual Running the Blues 5K Run & 2.5K Walk in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.  The event is being held on April 4th at 9:00 am this year and coincides with the Springing the Blues festival weekend, as per usual.  This isn’t your normal 5k race mainly because the whole course is on the nice, flat (as opposed to a hilly) beach.  I recommend running barefoot.  Even though the tide will be down, there is no promise that you won’t be running into the wind so watch where you are spitting.  If you aren’t extreme enough to run the 5k on the soft sand then you can still enjoy the beauty of the beach and participate in the 2.5K walk on the beach.  I did some research on and found that “walks on the beach” was an activity that 96% of singles enjoy.  So if you’re not a runner, at least consider impressing the opposite sex by walking on the beach.  You’re so sensitive and I dig that about you.  You need to register for this race TODAY by sending a mail in entry postmarked by the 28th or registering online before April 1st for the price of 17 dollars.  Everyone knows that’s a steal for a cool 5k like this.  The T-shirt alone probably costs that much.  Also there is race day registration available but then the price goes up to 20 dollars.  It’s a bad economy, go ahead and register now and use that 3 dollars to get yourself a McDonald’s Value Meal after the race.  You earned it, you just ran 3.1 miles!  Or walked 2.5K, still something to eat a Big Mac about.

The event is hosted by Performance MutliSports Event Planning and Production which is a really cool organization.  Performance MultiSports organizes a variety of races and promotes healthy recreational opportunities in NE Florida. Performance provides athletes of many sports a way to meet, train, and socialize together, while giving back to the community, as it produces sports events for a variety of other non-profit organizations.  They put on all kind of races like adventure, running, bicycling, triathlon, duathlon, kayak, and multisport events all over Florida.  We all know that running is the best sport you can participate in, but it’s great to get out and challenge yourself with some new activities and races.  You have to keep challenging yourself if you want to truly be extreme.  I’m thinking about doing a kayak race.  How cool would that be?  Pretty cool.  You can check out their event calendar to see all the different events you can participate in.  There’s also a plethora of links available on their website if you want to learn more about these different activities. However, don’t click on the Running link, it may give your computer the flu or some other sickness.  They have bicycling resources available too but not necessarily mountain biking, but you already know where to go for that. You’re so renaissance and I like how your resume reflects that.  You’re hired!…to run the 18th Annual Running the Blues 5k Run & 2.5K Walk.

You don’t live in Florida?  I don’t care, this 5k is a destination race for sure because it goes along with the Springing the Blues festival which is a free, three-day, ocean front concert.  Run a 5k on the ocean in the morning, then chill out with a free oceanfront Blues festival the rest of the day.  Sounds like the perfect vacation for this economy!  Some of the performers include Regi Blue, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin Malcolm, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band and many more.  I honestly don’t know much about the Blues but Downbeat magazine rated this festival as one of the top 50 Music Festivals and Southeast Tourism Society named it one of the top 20 destination events.  See, it’s official, the Running the Blues 5k Run & 2.5K Walk is a destination event.  Make it you’re cheap vacation destination!  Where else would you go in Florida anyways?

No where other than Jacksonville Beach.  Go ahead and take your shoes off and relax…after running 3.1 miles of course…with our without shoes.  Don’t you want to earn all the beer you’ll consume watching blues all day afterward?  Beer that you earn tastes almost as good as free beer!  Almost.