By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Public AffairsFebruary 11, 2014
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- "I did it last year and failed miserably," said Candice Gaeth, while taking a break from training at the Tower Barracks Physical Fitness Center, here, Feb. 4.
She was covered in sweat and still panting as she talked about the upcoming 2nd Annual Grafenwoehr Rugged Terrain Obstacle Run.
"This year will be different. I'm working on my endurance so I can last, so I can complete every obstacle."
"I skipped a lot last year," she said, adding an exhaustive sigh to emphasize her point.
Gaeth is smart to train, the run is tough and that's by design. Participants are presented with 13 obstacles including a mud crawl, rope, rock and wall climbs, pull-ups, sled pull, and balance beam, all while navigating 13 kilometers to reach the end of the run.
Located on the Grafenwoehr Training Area, the foundation of the course was designed by Integrated Training Area Management and Joint Multinational Training Command for military training purposes, with production beginning in 2010.
Following guidance from Soldier 360, a comprehensive multidisciplinary program that encompasses overall health and wellness, the course cultivates elements of physical training along with mental training and team-building, said Colleen Bergmanis, Grafenwoehr Training Area ITAM coordinator.
"We incorporated these three elements to allow leadership to assess where their guys are before they go downrange," said Bergmanis.
The rugged and unpredictable terrain, said Bergmanis, allows Soldiers to focus on their situational awareness to deploy specific interoperability techniques needed in a combat zone.
U.S. and NATO forces have come from all over the world to use the course.
Likewise, participants will travel from garrisons across Europe to participate in the Rugged Terrain Obstacle Run. While both opportunities emphasis camaraderie, the latter is geared more toward fun.
"People like getting wet and muddy, they like the challenge," said Serge Kearse, chief of sports and fitness operations for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "It's challenging, but it's not a race. The main emphasis is to complete the course, and to work together in a team to encourage each other to finish, as well."
Jaimin Williams Harris, a strength and conditioning coach at the fitness center, shared Kearse's sentiment.
"This event goes beyond team-building; it's community building," said Harris. "Spouses get a chance to experience what our Soldiers do and every participant supports each other. We're all out there together until the very last person comes in."
Harris is currently training civilians, spouses and Soldiers who intend to participate in the run. She motivates by putting them outside of their comfort zone.
"What we do in class isn't exactly what they'll see on the course, but if they can overcome certain challenges here, they'll be empowered to complete the challenges there," she said.
She trains hard and participants in her class wear their battle scars proudly.
"My knees are shot, my shoulders hurt. I'm achy, but in a good way," said family member Dotie Williams, who is participating this year to scratch an item off her bucket list.
"But I keep coming back for more," she added, laughing through the pain.
After the intense 45 -minute workout ended, Tammie Pech, assistant station manager at the American Red Cross in Grafenwoehr, lifted her pant legs to reveal knees colored in black and blue.
"It looks bad but it's totally worth it," she said. "I'm officially ready for the run."
The 2nd Annual Grafenwoehr Rugged Terrain Obstacle Run will take place Saturday, April 12, at the Tower Barracks Physical Fitness Center, Building 170. The deadline to sign-up is March 3.
For more information, visit www.grafenwoehr.armymwr.com and click on the Rugged Terrain icon, or inquire at the Tower Barracks and Rose Barracks physical fitness centers.
To prepare for the run with a group, or to participate in an intense workout, join Harris' WOD (Workout of the Day) class on Tuesdays, 4:45 p.m., or TotalFit, Wednesday, 9 a.m. Both classes focus on strength and conditioning and are taught at the Tower Barracks Fitness Center.
Additionally, NATO or U.S. Army forces who would like to use the Rugged Terrain Trail for training purposes should contact Colleen Bergmanis at DSN 475-8165, CIV 09641-83-8165.