At Fort Bragg, teams race against clock during obstacle competition
June 10, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Competitors had a chance to prove their mettle at the Fort Bragg Amazing Race competition Saturday at Frederick Physical Fitness Center.
The two-person teams faced numerous challenges as they raced through a timed course. Racers first maneuvered through a tire obstacle, quickly followed by a balance beam. After leaping over barriers, they ducked under another obstacle and ran across an elevated challenge. From there they raced to an inflated ladder with an accompanying slide, both coated in baby oil with a pool of ice water waiting at the bottom. The soaked contestants then had to low-crawl under caution tape and sprint over a large mound of dirt. The last station forced the teams to dig through pine needles coated with vegetable oil, flour mixed with water and a cold, murky mess for a sequence of hidden flags.
Each team member raced through the course individually, but the clock didn't stop until both members crossed the finish line.
The competing teams consisted of moms, co-workers, couples and friends. Kelly Rex and her teammate, Audwin Lindsay, both work at the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. Rex, whose husband, Maj. Benjamin Rex, and son Pfc. Jeromy Rex, are both deployed in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, thought the competition would be an interesting challenge.
"We work together and started going to the gym about six months ago. I wanted to get in shape and he (Lindsay) has been my personal trainer," said Rex. "We saw the flyer while at the gym and thought it would be fun."
Teammates Spc. Michael Baker and Spc. Angel Saunders, who recently returned from Iraq with XVIII Airborne Corps, blazed through the beginning of the course, but were held up at the last station trying to find the correct flags.
"It's alright, we still had fun," said Saunders.
Fanown Ruff, the Frederick PFC facility manager, conceived the course and the concept.
"I encouraged my managers to think outside the box and Fanown stepped up," said Karen White, chief of sports fitness, Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "This was Fanown's creation and she's done a phenomenal job."
Ruff said she was inspired by shows like the "Amazing Race" and "Survivor," but wanted to give participants more.
"I really wanted to do something where everyone could come out, have a good time and get muddy," she said. "This is better than reality television because it is unedited, in it's true form and has a Fort Bragg twist."
Competitors were divided into three categories: the men's division, women's division and co-ed. First and second-place finishers received trophies presented to them by White.
This was the first Fort Bragg Amazing Race course and safety was a key concern as Ruff and her staff developed the events. They set up and broke down the course ten times, running through each of the obstacles numerous times to make sure no one would get hurt while participating in the challenge.
Ruff envisions the challenge becoming an annual event.
"This was a great way for Families to come out and have fun," she said. "Next year we may have a course for kids so they can have a chance to compete, too."