Drew Bowker of Lone Star Spartans penned this guest race review and recap of the recent Green Beret Challenge in Burnet, Texas. Enjoy his review about the event.
After a week of floods and rain in Texas, the weather blessedly cleared as The Green Beret Challenge welcomed us to Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, TX. You have the option to run solo or as part of 2 or 4 person team. Not knowing the people on my team (due to jumping into an open slot at the last minute) nor having run GBC before I showed up Saturday morning, I was not entirely sure what to expect. I found my team and felt much more at ease, as we chatted over our game plan for the course and made our way to the starting line.
This race took us through the trails and streams of a familiar location yet was devoid of the standard obstacles we have all come to expect at most OCRs. There were no walls to go over or rigs to break us or monkey bars to swing on. This race was all about running the trails, working together to overcome challenges, and moving lots of heavy stuff.
Soon after the start, we came upon our first task. Seeing the stack of empty sandbags and the pile of gravel there was no question what was expected of us. After filling the bag and heading out we had over a mile of trails, hills and water crossings until we came upon the Drag Queen. At this point, we traded our sandbags for a duffle bag drag and tire-flip. Our team split in half with 2 of us on the duffel bag and 2 on the tire. Nikki Jay and I raced down and back with the duffel bag and looked over to see our team had made it one flip of the tire. We then offered to help when the team mate to be known as “Ox” for the rest of the day got in the middle of the tire, picked it up and did a quick down and back. We were then instructed to leave our sandbags and take off down the trails.
Next up was Sandman. As a team we had a litter and sled, both with sandbags in them, to take on a tour of the landscape. Again we split up with 2 taking the litter and 2 on the sled to work our way through hills, streams, rocks and trails of RPR. Soon into this we realized the sled was going to be slow, so 2 of us took off with the litter, dumped it back at the start and ran back to meet our teammates with the sled and helped them through the rest of the course.
Leaving that challenge we were off again on the trails, wondering what the WTF challenge consisted of. As we met the next group of volunteers (plenty of them all over the course might I add) we found a 10-foot long piece of drainage hose filled with rock, along with a ruck filled with stone and an ammo box. Fairly simple instructions again, we had to get those items through the next loop on the course. After some examination, we divvied up the items and off we went, with our current burdens in our grasp.
Soon after leaving WTF, we immediately met The Malvesti. This was as close as we came to a “typical” familiar obstacle. After being waist deep in a pit of muck we were over a mound of dirt and through the barb wire crawl. No dead fish, in this one, though.
We were allowed a preview of the next obstacle, as we came up on a team completing their trek fully outfitted. The Oxen was an ingenious setup. Take a pair 8-foot landscape border posts, tie them to each other at each end with 6 foot of rope and hang a sandbag from each corner. We positioned ourselves on each corner, found the most comfortable way to carry this and off we went. It was another loop through the trails with another heavy load, though this time without the stream to navigate.
After leaving The Oxen we were back on the trails as we doubled back and heard sounds from the festival area letting us know we knew we were getting close. After rounding a turn, we were once again greeted with the sandbag we thought we had abandoned earlier in the course. It was a comfortable friend, and as we leave no one behind we picked it up for our last stretch before the finish. All in all the sand bag joined us for over 2 miles!
Coming out of the woods we deposited our sand-filled comrade in the pile with those of the folks ahead of us and we did our best to sprint to the finish. As each team came back into sight those in the festival area shouted out cheers and applauded as each team crossed the finish line. In typical fashion, a finisher medal and beer (or 3) awaited each of us.
Mark Ballas and the GBC crew did a great job out there Saturday. The course was well marked and equally well-staffed. The team aspect of the event and the lack of the familiar and typical challenges made this event somewhat unique, and I am looking forward to my next one!
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