By Capt. Kasandra B. Tharp, Regional Contracting Office, Wheeler Army Airfield, HawaiiMarch 31, 2014
Once again, members and friends of the 413th Contracting Support Brigade "Peacekeepers" competed in the challenging Spartan Race.
According to the Peacekeepers, team members were ready for the 3.2 mile, 15-obstacle course challenge conducted within Aloha Stadium. The 10-member team of Soldiers, airmen and civilians included Lt. Col. Frankie Cruz, Captains Jared and Kasandra Tharp and David Garrison, Master Sergeants Larry Metcalf and April Johnson, Sgt. 1st Class Rachel Harris, Staff Sgt. Arthur Dominguez and Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Stinson and Army civilian Marlene Barretto. More than 3,000 participants took part in the event.
"It was exciting to compete in this unique athletic event as a team. Our team was extremely motivated," Cruz said. "Anxiety was high, but overall confident, as this was our second Spartan Race in less than a year and we did well with our plan to stay together through all the obstacles."
Cruz said the Spartan Race was even more challenging than the last one as the participants were challenged with difficult obstacles. He and other racers found running up 1,500-plus steps a daunting task to the most extreme racers.
"This was a challenging course that was much more difficult than the normal 5K races I'm used to. I will never under estimate this type of race again," said Dominguez, a first-time Spartan racer.
Harris agreed with Dominguez.
"Although it was challenging, all members stayed the course and never left anyone behind," Harris said. "One of our NCOs took the lead by keeping all team members moving and another NCO helped bring up the rear as the team motivator. All in all, great team work."
Participants said part of the attraction of coming together as a team for the race again was its unique challenge.
"Another awesome adventure with fellow comrades," said Barretto, a regular team racer and supporter. "The Spartan sprint at the Aloha Stadium was challenging and had many obstacles that tested our strength. We pushed through and fought the exhaustion of all of it: the tire pull, low crawl, wall climbing, push-ups, rope climbing, and running up and down flights of stairs. However, nothing beats the feeling of sprinting to the finish line as a team."
The team finished in 01:01:37, crossing the finish line together and placing 41 out of the top 100 team finishers.
"One of the better races I have done," Metcalf said. "The team was motivated and never gave up. This was a true team event."
"The race was a great team-building event," Garrison said. "I'm proud of all the military and civilians who volunteered to come out and participate on their day off. The team was highly motivated, worked together, and finished strong. I'm looking forward to our next one."
"If you haven't participated in a Spartan Race, you need to, because it is not about how fit you are, but really about overcoming challenges with your team and crossing the finish line together." Cruz said.