By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public AffairsJune 8, 2017
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 8, 2017) -- Capt. Bryce Livingston, a forward support company commander in 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, has teamed up with an elite and athletic group of officers to compete in the second season of NBC's Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge.
The first of eight episodes in the new season premieres June 12 at 10 p.m. In each episode, six teams of four athletes with the support of a team captain compete in a grueling series of obstacles designed to test their endurance, skill and determination to win.
Livingston is on the "Commanding Officers" team, with Liam Collins (coach), Ashley Keller, Robert Killian Jr. and Samantha Wood. He said that he had competed with them before at various Spartan races, but this was the first time they actually got to train together as a team, and they only had three days to do so.
"The amazing thing about our team was that we really worked well together despite this lack of training," he said. "This was unique from the other teams, who live in the same vicinity and train on a daily basis together."
Livingston said that following a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., in January, he had less than six weeks to prepare for this competition.
"Much of my training was done here on post at my company gym, at Magrath or on the awesome trail network that Fort Drum has," Livingston said. "Normally, I stick to heavy mileage and pair it with lower weightlifting at high reps. I had to be different with this short trainup. I focused more on strength and explosiveness, incorporating kettle bells and sprints in my workouts while still maintaining a level of endurance. This took place whenever I had the chance -- before PT, during PT, after work and on weekends."
The Fort Drum officer has both coached the post's Army Ten-Miler team and competed five times at the annual run in Washington, D.C. A former distance runner at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Livingston competed in 2016 on the Army Men's Team and earned gold at the Armed Forces Marathon in Washington, D.C.
He was also a member of the 2014 U.S. Armed Forces team that competed at the World Military Orienteering Championship in Austria.
"That introduced me to very fast-paced running through extreme terrain," he said. "Before that, I found moderate success in my collegiate cross country and track career, and ran road races afterward."
Livingston joined Collins and Killian last year on the All-Army Obstacle Racing team, and he placed 19th in the Spartan Beast and 10th in the Sprint races held last August in Breckenridge, Colo. The "Beast" race included 29 obstacles over a 13-mile course with more than 5,000 feet of elevation change. The Sprint race featured 19 obstacles over five miles and started at an elevation of more than 9,000 feet.
Livingston said that he got his first taste of Spartan competition at the Fort Benning (Ga.) Sprint last April, which qualified him for the 2016 Spartan Race World Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nev., and he has competed in a total of six Spartan races.
Collins, a colonel serving as director of the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy, coached that team and earned third place in the master's division. A past Army Best Ranger winner, Collins also represented Team USA with Wood on the U.S. Armed Forces Marathon team.
Killian, a Special Forces captain serving in the Colorado National Guard, earned the title of 2015 Spartan Race World Champion in Lake Tahoe as a newcomer to the sport. In 2016, he won the Army Best Ranger Competition with teammate Staff Sgt. Erich Friedlein, after multiple attempts to include two back-to-back second-place finishes.
Wood, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, served seven years active duty as a physical therapist. She competed as an Army athlete in the CISM World Marathon Championships in 2013, World Orienteering Championships in 2014 and the All-Army Marathon from 2010 to 2012.
Rounding out the team is Keller, an Army spouse and former captain who recently transitioned out of the service. While stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., she placed first among the elite women competing in the Spartan Race on post in September. A national collegiate triathlon champion, Keller competed on the West Point Triathlon team, and she placed first in her age group in the 2009 Ironman 70.3 competition in Kansas.
Livingston said that he wanted to participate on this all-Army team because he loves a challenge and seeing how hard he can push himself. Although he can't say anything about his performance until after the show concludes, he looks forward to learning what his friends and Family think about this rare opportunity.
"The support I have from Family and friends is beyond comprehension," he said. "Additionally, the support my chain of command gives me is truly incredible. Lt. Col. (Isaac) Rademacher (4-31 Infantry commander) and Col. (Scott) Himes (2nd BCT commander) understand the importance of this to me, and I'm honored to have their support."
To learn more about the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge, visit http://www.nbc.com/spartan-ultimate-team-challenge.