A Race that truly lived up to its name, The Brutality!
I was a little hesitant to agree to sign up for this race for a few reasons. One and most importantly, its during the winter, February 28th to be exact and I hate being cold!
Second, I still consider myself as being in the “off season” and not really ready to race. Third, I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing we were told was that it is an “organic” course, no manmade obstacles. But putting that aside, Heather Moss did a wonderful job of convincing me to give it a shot. I am so glad she did. Jason and Heather Moss created this race, along with help from Harry Turner and Eric Delahaye. This was Heather and Jason’s first time as race directors and they did a fabulous job. There will always be hiccups during first events and they were the first ones to speak up after the race to ask the participants what they could improve on for future races. I have no doubt that the few suggestions will be followed through on.
So the race started out at 4:30am on a frigid Saturday morning. It was in the single digits. We had a quick inspection to make sure we had our required gear consisting of a whistle, tin cup, unsharpened pencil (now I know why it was so important that it was unsharpened), 25lb bag of sand, 5ft of rope, demolition bag, duck tape, headlamp, deck of cards, 50lb backpack and a spoon. Next thing I knew we were all standing in a line in the dark with a pencil in our mouths with the instructions that you will be penalized if the pencil breaks or leaves your mouth and the race had begun We received our first instructions on where to take our sandbags to drop them off.. Next we were instructed to go retrieve a railroad tie and carry it as a team. We ended up at the creek with the instructions to get in and do squats while doing overhead presses with the tie and placing it each time on your opposite shoulder while standing in the freezing water. It felt like we were in the water for a long time. We then proceeded to come out of the water, drop our log and continue with some PT to keep us warm. Most of us were able to start to feel our toes again after awhile.
Once the sun started to come up, our adventures really began. We hiked in the woods for a few hours with and without our sandbag. We then had to retrieve our 50 lb packs and carry them to a designated location where we had to get out our deck of cards. Depending on the card you picked, you had to do 50 reps of an exercise. Once three people came to this spot our backpacks were zip tied together and the three racers had to figure out the best way to carry the packs for about a 6-mile hike through the snow up and down hills. We finally arrived at Base Camp B where we had some other individual tasks to complete from filling a bag with 25 lbs of sand using only a spoon, army crawling uphill with our sandbags while memorizing letters and numbers to repeat to the volunteer back at the bottom. My most favorite task was carrying an egg safely up a steep rocky incline where you had to use ropes to help you ascend to the top and then run back to base camp with your egg in one piece.
The egg carry had to be completed by the 2:15pm deadline. Thankfully I was able to make it and continue on and finish the race. At this point there was only one other female Melissa Berke, who was able to continue on and ultimately come in first. Our last task was to carry our 50lb packs and 25 lb sandbags for I am guessing about 7 miles back to Base Camp, A which was the finish. There was a group of us that stayed together for this last portion. It was awesome having the support of other racers to keep you going and get to the finish line.
26 people signed up for the race. 13 brave souls showed up to the start line, and 6 completed the grueling 12-hour race. There was actually a point in the race where I was ready to give up except for the fact that my backpack was tied to 2 other peoples so I had no choice but to keep going. I am so glad that I did. This race pushed me past my comfort zone both physically and mentally. I have never carried that much weight for an extended period of time or miles and I absolutely hate being out in the cold. I proved to myself that if you stay focused and believe in yourself anything is possible. If you were looking for a race to push you outside your comfort zone, I would recommend that you give The Brutality a try in 2015. If you can’t wait until next year, they are having a 24-hour Brutality event in September 2014. Test your limits!