Terrain, obstacles, challenge Warriors at Hohenfels

By Mark Iacampo, U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels Public AffairsMay 9, 2013

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Lugging logs
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Mud crawl
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Tire flip
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Sled Pull
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HOHENFELS, Germany -- Nearly 100 competitors took the Hohenfels Warrior Challenge and braved the tough terrain of the garrison's first obstacle run, May 4.

Twenty-four teams of up to four members each struggled along five kilometers of torturous trails while splashing through freezing cold mud pits, lugging logs, and flipping 200 lb. tires.

"I've always loved obstacle runs, and I think they're a fun way to get people involved," said Emma Lawson, Hohenfels fitness coordinator, who spear-headed the event.

Lawson said she created the obstacles based on the terrain and the materials available.

"I wanted to make it so anybody could come and do it, while still keeping it challenging," Lawson said. "And that's why we had teams of four; they could help each other and have that camaraderie of a team."

Other obstacles included a sled pull, a five gallon water jug carry, and running a tire drill. Most participants agreed, though, that the toughest obstacle was the trail itself.

"This terrain is no joke," laughed Lawson. "Those switchbacks are tough."

"It wasn't the obstacles, it was getting to the obstacles," said Pfc. Kris Gorbea, one of the members of Team Awesome, which won first place with a time of 24:05.

"This was truly a cross-country event," agreed Maj. Bryce Kawaguchi, also from Team Awesome. "It's a big difference running on flat, hard-packed ground versus side hills, uphills and downhills with loose rocks and roots. So you really have to pick your stride throughout."

Spc. Seth Householder said Team Awesome's strategy involved going at about 80 percent of max on the runs and then giving 100 percent for the events.

"And we switched off for everything so nobody got burned out," added Gorbea.

Team Mixed Bag took top slot in the co-ed category, finishing at 25:26. But winning wasn't their main goal.

"The goal coming out here was to beat our battalion commander with our girlfriend and our fiancé on our team while they had an all male team," grinned Todd Pitt. "And we made it happen."

Nor did they leave all the heavy lifting to the men. Laura Eaton took her turn flipping tires next to Stu McFarlane.

"The whole time, though, I kept thinking 'where the heck is Todd?'" Eaton laughed.

Team B.A.B., the only all-female team finished with a time of 39:24. Even through the last obstacle, the team was laughing and joking the whole way.

"Our goal was to come out and have a good time, and we accomplished it," said LeAnna Brown.

"This is truly a team event," said Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth McKoy, U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels command sergeant major, pointing out that the acronym for team is Together Everyone Accomplishes More.

"When we come together to put on events like this, they're always special because everyone across the community participates and that's what makes Hohenfels such a unique and special place," he said.