I race for myself and to make myself happy, I love to write about the races and share OCR with the world. I also enjoy being able to help OCR events working with charities. For these reasons, I could not miss ABF’s race/event on April 18th to help raise money for families battling cancer.
Being a cancer survivor, and someone that lost both his grandfathers and oldest brother to cancer, this subject brings me to tears to even write about. I am aware that on the same day as ABF’s race, Spartan Race is having one of it's best races of the year in New Jersey. My goal is to spread awareness of the ABF race and ask people to consider racing both on the same day (As I am).
I know better than anyone what I am asking is huge and no easy task. I have raced at multiple OCR’s on the same day (sometimes over one hundred miles apart from each other) and know the effects on a body. Those effects are nothing compared to the pain and hell cancer brings to both the person sick and his or her entire family and friends.
I asked Chad to answer my questions more than a week ago, nagged at him for the answers. We talked this past Saturday at another OCR event and he explained how difficult a time he was having putting his thoughts in to written words. Chad Mason is extremely busy getting ready for his event this weekend, so I am very grateful for the answers he provided below.
Please explain why this specific event is special to you.
Mason: I have been asked this question a lot since last October and have never really been able to put it into words without tearing up, so I normally don’t talk about it. I have been staring at your article questions for a week now trying to put together some words to explain our next event.
For those that do not know, I lost my mother this past February from Stage four lung cancer. She was diagnosed in October and in February she took her last breathes. Being a personal trainer and nutritionist for the last twenty plus years I tried everything I could to help her battle this horrific disease. For the last eight years I have been helping out other cancer charities but have never first hand witnessed what this does to the patient and to their families. I have also never lost someone close to me since I was fifteen, so you can imagine how personal this next event really is for me and for the rest of the ABF staff.
A few weeks before her passing, I received an award from our County for the Charity work that we do. She kept a copy of the County newspaper by her bedside every day talking about it with anyone that came to say their goodbyes due to her fading condition. It meant a lot, that in her last final days she was proud of me and what ABF has done to help others. During all of this, I did a Spartan Super totally unprepared and off my game due to not eating, sleeping, or training like I should have been. About half way threw the event both my calves locked up from lack of sodium and I could not run more than a football field up or down the hills without falling down. During those last few miles, all I did was think of my Mom with tears rolling down my face. Pissed off about what cancer has done to her, and pissed off that there wasn’t anything I could do to help her fight cancer. I was pissed off, and stumbling and falling to my knees. When I finally crossed the finish line the only words to come to mind were #CANCERSUCKS!
I told my mother right after that Super, that the next ABF event was for her. My objective for the April 18th event is for every participant to be challenged like never before in order to feel a sense of accomplishment they might not have felt in a while. Maybe this feeling will help open their eyes to just how powerful they really are. It also gives you a sense of comradery you might not or never have felt before.
#CANCERSUCKS no matter how you look at it. Cancer does not only effect the patient it affects everyone around it. On April 18th we are all going to work together to show everyone what we can do when we all work as a team no matter how difficult an obstacle may seem.
In memory of my Mother, we are working with several local families who are battling this horrible disease. They will use the money raised by this event to help take some of the financial burdens that this has caused their families.
Mason: Our kid’s course it is about one mile. The full course is about four miles.
How many obstacles will the course have?
Mason: Honestly, we lost count at fifty.
Will the obstacle have several versions of each obstacle (beginner, intermediate, and more advanced)?
Yes, each obstacle we have will have two to four versions, depending on the athlete’s fitness level. One example is our 16’, 12’ 10’ 6’ rope walls. When you come up to this obstacle you can pick which obstacle fits your skill level.
Please talk about the course layout and anything else you think readers want/need to know.
Mason: Words cannot clearly describe the Millers amazing farm. This fifty five acre horse farm, with an outdoor stadium that seats 3,500, that also includes rail road tracks, dense pine forest, power lines, ponds, and creeks. The festival area has both power and water for vendors and onsite parking make this the perfect set up for any event.
The course has over fifty obstacles. Each obstacle will bring to light your strengths and weaknesses, no matter if that is building up your upper body in order to climb over a 16’ rope wall, or our new 14’ new generation inverted walls, or the need to work on your explosive leg strength to conquer the 14’ American Ninja Warrior Wall, or maybe to build up your stamina to cross our 100+’ traverse rope.
Our Construction Manager, Larry Cooper has added numerous obstacles since our last October’s event. We can guarantee there is something on this course that you are going to have trouble overcoming.
For those traveling and wanting to make it an adventurous family weekend, are there other things in the area to do?
Mason: For those traveling, the course is located thirty minutes from both Philadelphia and Atlantic City.
Are there any last statement/words you would like to say to our readers?
Mason: Rest assure, we have over fifty trained, motivated, and educated volunteers on the course that will do whatever we can to get you threw it. No matter if we have to help someone carry a 16’ telephone pole down the railroad tracks or a back to jump on in order to get over one of our walls, we will see you threw this course and at the end when you cross the finish line you will truly feel a sense of accomplishment you might not have felt in a while, then my ABF team and I will know we accomplished our mission for this event.
Be strong when you are weak, brave when you are scared and humble when you are victorious… ABF MUD RUN!
What others had to say about ABF:
I personally have not yet visited, or raced the ABF course, but I have heard amazing things about the course and how well ABF puts on a quality event. I was able to get a quote from our very own MRG’s Brett Stewart about the course.
Brett: Of all the races I've done, Chad's obstacles have been some of the highest-quality I've ever seen. The minute you hit one of those ^&*# sternum-checkers, the first thought is “OUCH” then the second is “Wow, this is well-built” When you crumple to the ground from exhaustion after several different 8′ walls back-to-back-to-back, you have the perfect vantage point to inspect the supports and realize how over-built each one is. Helicopter ladder? Got it (and boy, do they use it well) but the “log cross” is ingenious in its simplicity and hair-raising when trying to cross!
I understand a lot of our readers just won’t be able to do both races on the same day, so I ask that readers make a donation to my friend Franklyn Newby’s “GoFundMe”. Franklyn is going to be running the ABF course all day, to raise money for one of the families mentioned above and readers can make a donation via this link. I hope to either see you come to the event and/or make a donation. The only easy day was yesterday.