By Pfc. Jamal WalkerApril 26, 2009
CAMP HOVEY- Soldiers from units across Warrior Country came to the Hovey obstacle course, also known as the confidence course, to compete in the first annual Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation obstacle course challenge.
The event had 319 Soldiers participate in four different categories of the competition: individual men's open, individual women's open and the men's and women's team event.
The competition began with a safety briefing followed by an explanation of the course from FMWR personnel. Not prepared for such a high number of participants and due to safety restrictions, FMWR broke the obstacle course into five different events, the confidence climb, tough one, low belly over, inclining wall and the weaver.
On the cue of a whistle being blown, contestants sprinted to the confidence climb, a giant replicated ladder where the participant climbed on one side then down the other sprinting to the tough one.
The tough one, where participants were only allowed to try twice before being disqualified, gave most participants problems because the rope contestants had to use to pull themselves to the top was an excruciating upper body work out.
"Going up the rope was very hard for me," said Jose Lopez the third place winner of the men's individual with a time of 1:31. "Some people were wrapping the rope with their legs making it easier for the lower body, but I came out to compete so I just wanted to win, and I did not really care how I made it to the top just as long as I did not quit."
Once participants reached the top of the tough one, they had to pull themselves up and reach the other side without falling in the net below, then climb down using the rope.
The third event of the obstacle course, the inclining wall, made participants hop over a wall by any means necessary before reaching the low belly over, a very similar maneuver to the inclining wall where participants had to jump over a log hoisted in the air before moving on to the last obstacle, the weaver.
The weaver, one of the most challenging events, made participants climb to the top of a pyramid made of wooden bars. Some contestants, like Sean Randall, decided to run up and directly down.
Randall, who showed promise, placed only 12th due to his fall from the weaver. Randall recovered quickly getting to his feet and finishing the course.
"I thought I broke a rib," Randall said. "It felt horrible, but this is what we do. I did not join the Army to quit. I was worried about my time more than a bruise, so I knew I had to finish. The medics responded very quickly and I appreciated everything they did to assist me."
Participants who placed from 3 to 1 were awarded trophies and points for their unit in the Commander's Cup competition, including each of the four members of the men's and women's team, an exciting part of the day where teamwork was needed during the competition in order for each team to complete the course.
"We had a little game plan in place by deciding who would go first and who would go last, but the main thing was to keep talking to each other throughout the competition, to keep each other motivated and make sure we all finished together," said Taaris Crenshaw a member of the men's winning team in the obstacle course with a time of 2:06, a time faster than the majority of participants in the individual events.
"I think the competition was really good, many people showed up and I think it speaks very highly of FMWR, and I just want to thank everyone who had a hand in helping out," said Aaron Moore with the fastest time of the day: 1:23, winning first place in the men's individual open.