Green Beret Challenge – Florida – December 5, 2015.
By Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)
I love doing all the different obstacle course type races and GBC had been on my radar for sometime. I had been looking forward to doing this event and also doing it with my friend Damion Trombley as this was a team event consisting of a team of four. Our team was: me, Damion, Jimi (Da Beard) Hughes, and Julie D’Alessio and this was the first GBC for all four of us.
• The Course:
The course totaled about eight miles and started out with a sprint and the first challenge up was one that required all four team members to assist and work together as a team. Each team had to carry, a very heavy rucksack, two buckets filled with water, two heavy sandbags attached to the end of a rope, and a heavy ammo box. I went first carrying the rucksack and if I recall one of the buckets of water. I didn’t adjust the rucksack as well as I should have and also wore it over my hydration backpack, so I started to develop shoulder discomfort sooner than I would have expected. We pretty much all took turns carrying one of the items in this challenge and made our way around the course loop which was a pretty long distance to cover. After challenge # 1, the course continued on for another sprint and up next came a nice and simple crawl under two non-barbed wire crawls. After a brief sprint, challenge # 3 was a short distance water crossing that had a rope hanging over the body of water to assist with crossing. I personally really enjoyed this challenge as it gave me a chance to cool down and get my body wet.
The course continued for another sprint and up next was challenge # 4 that initially required our team to carry, drag, two large multi-person snow sleds filled with several heavy sandbags for a pretty long half of the looped course. For the first portion of this challenge we split into two teams of two and Julie and I dragged one and Damion and Jimi dragged the other one. Once we completed the initial portion/section of loop for this challenge we had to swap out the above mentioned sleds for a long metal pole with three heavy sandbags attached via ropes to the pole and start our way back on the same course we just completed. Our team ended up sort of getting lucky as we should have had to return back carrying two of the mentioned poles with sandbags tied to them, but they ran out of those and only had the kayaks, so we ended up with one of each for the second portion of this challenge and I have to be honest, that ended up being a positive for our team. Once we completed the return loop, we were each (all four of us) provided empty bags that we had to fill with sand and then tie close. We then took our sandbags and carried them with us as we continued walking/sprinting on the course.
The next challenge (#5) up was one that having a MacGyver/scout leader type on the team would come in handy. We had to use the following materials: two long metal poles, two shorter metal poles, two car tires (with the rims), a large coffin, and an assortment of rope and nylon strings to build a wheel-barrel type carrying device that allowed us to role and cover a long distanced loop. We also had to place our four heavy sandbags in the coffin and they had to remain in the coffin the entire time. This wasn’t that easy and we actually spent more time building it, than we did pushing/pulling it around the above mentioned loop. I am happy to say, that what we build stayed together the entire time and we also adhered to the rules of the challenge of the entire time and were able to keep the tires rolling and we never carried or dragged ours.
After completing challenge # 5, we figured it would be easy sailing the remainder of the course and we took our sandbags and continued on the course eventually making our way to challenge # 6. which was another MacGyver/scout leader type challenge that again used a large coffin and metal poles and an assortment of ropes to build a contraption that we had to carry for over a mile in distance in the loop and this again was not that easy to both build and carry. At this point, the team was tired and grip strength wasn’t what it was when we started and this portion of the course was on a horse race track and directly in the scorching sunlight. We worked as a team on this challenge and rotated around carrying different sections of what we built and completed this challenge knowing that all we would have left was a very short and easy sprint to the finish line.
We completed the course a short time after completing challenge # 6 and received our well earned Green Beret Challenge finisher medal!
• The Bling:
The bling was a cool finisher medal that is a very unique shape and design and a white GBC finisher shirt.
• Overall Feelings and Event Rating:
I really enjoyed the challenges and having to figure out how to build contraptions that worked and allowed us as a team to move them long distances. I would suggest this event to all racers, regardless of previous obstacle course racing experience or physical fitness levels as it’s an event anyone that works as a team and gives their best will be able to complete and be proud of doing one. I am going to rate GBC – Florida 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to participating in another one in the future.