I have been known to write about Tough Mudders, in fact, that’s the race which introduced me to the wonderful world of OCRs. After over a year of doing these, I have started to branch out, and based on what Green Beret Challenge Commando set as the bar, I am going to be aiming at more variety of races. I have to give a shout out to my racing partners for this event, Randall, Brandon, and Frankie because thanks to them the event was even more of a blast than anticipated.
Overall Course Thoughts
First of all, I have little words other than WOW. From the pre-race instructions, the course, to really almost every detail, you could see how well-detailed everything was, and how well thought out the event was. It’s very obvious that this is Mark Ballas’ passion, as you can see the kind of thoughtfulness that went into almost every detail of the event, and yes, that includes that absolutely painful obstacle that lived up the shirt they had for sale proclaiming “F*** Ballas.”
The “Village”, or really just the pre and post-race hangout area were pretty nice and cozy. Music was blaring, racers were prepping before the race, and the post-race music was still blaring, a food truck was there, and people were hanging out just chatting and getting to know each other more. I was taken aback by this – considering I’ve done mostly Tough Mudders, you have some groups hang out in Mudder Village, but mostly people take off and don’t converse as much outside of their groups. You got to see more of the OCR spirit from this race.
The course itself was well thought out. The course was set up so you basically jogged a mile, did an obstacle for a mile loop back to drop off the equipment used for the obstacle, rinse and repeat for 5 other obstacles. The course was well marked, and if you got lost, you really had to try to get lost. Blue arrows marked everywhere you needed to go, and at the beginning, you were told stay left of those arrows. The course also, being out in the countryside of Burnet Texas on Reveille Peak Ranch, was also a beauty to run. After climbing up part of a cliffside, when you turn around and you see the rest of the countryside out there, the view you see was just beautiful looking over nothing but green trees, cliffs, and lakes.
Considering this was a Commando Challenge, the obstacles themselves were each team events. Each obstacle or “event”, it was expected or hopeful you had a 4-person team, and the events were designed as such. You also had helpful young, bright JROTC kids that knew the instructions well, and reminded you which way to go to start the event and to finish the event. For most events, you had to think as a team, you had to work as a team to be successful. There were times we had to switch on who was dragging this versus carrying that.
From the shopping bag carry, rucksack hike, medic carry, and other events, each of them was well thought out torture stations. To me, it carried an even heavier message when you think about things such as our military with what they do out in the field. All of these events are things that our military service members have to do on a sometimes day to day basis. I think doing this event is a good reminder of what our military community does for us, and I’m not sure if that is a hidden message that Mark hopes to get across or not, but regardless of that, it came across to me.
“F*** Ballas” makes a lot more sense now
To speak to events, I can say that the worst, yet best one was definitely the second to last one (which I can’t remember the name for the life of me because all I could think of was saying “F*** Ballas” as soon as I saw him.) This torture device, which was both dragging a sled of a sandbag, attached to a metal pipe which also had 2 sandbags attached to it, was just pure hell. What makes it more fun, is the first half of the carry of this was uphill. Up. Hill. All throughout the event, I was just chanting the cadence of “F*** Ballas” constantly. The person administrating the event, who I met at a previous race, told us it was the last event, just added to the frustration. We also won’t talk about the “8-mile” course, which felt like this race should have been done on April Fools’ day since it was really closer to 9.5. I am not sure if that was also planned as part of the same sort of confusion, either way, it was hilarious as our group kept commenting on being trolled about the mileage and the final obstacle of sandbag carry over 5 hills.
Closing Thoughts: 10/10 would do again
All in all, I can say I not only thoroughly enjoyed this race, the events, just about everything about this race. You can tell this is Mark’s passion, and it shows so vibrantly as he talks about the race, as you see him on the course on his ATV. Green Beret Challenge is something I will for sure be recommending to my friends, family, and plenty of people to try and attend. I can absolutely see why Red Bull gave them the #1 spot in their ratings, it was well deserved. I easily give this race a 5/5 in terms of my ratings.
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