(Video: Jason Dupree from OCR Talk accompanied Evan for lap 9 and lap 10 of Endure The Gauntlet (miles 36-45).)
So much happens during a 48 hour event that it is overwhelming and hard to capture in a short article. I feel like I have enough funny and unique experiences to write a full chapter on the topic, so I’ll briefly cover the purpose/results and then do a quick comparison to World’s Toughest Mudder since that is most people’s only 24 hour Ultra-Obstacle Course Race (OCR) experience.
If you want to know more about my recovery, equipment choices, my fueling strategy (same one from my book Mud Run Guide’s Ultra-OCR Bible) or other information, I’ll be releasing additional information on the RockTape blog, dryrobe blog and through my own website Strength & Speed (articles will be up soon).
Endure the Gauntlet was a 48 hour charity OCR on the course of Conquer The Gauntlet Tulsa with three main goals:
1. Folds of Honor: Raise a minimum of $5000 for the charity Folds of Honor (scholarship money to children whose parents were killed or wounded US Military service).
Result: I’ve raised over $5,000 and it keeps growing as I write this. Donations will stay open for about another week and will continue to support the education of our nation's heroes. Please head over and donate if you haven’t already done so.
2. Inspire Those Already in the Sport to Push Their Limits AND/OR Grow The Sport
Result: While I didn’t get any non-fitness media like the local news to cover the event (although to be fair I put little effort into this), I did talk with the guys at SOFLETE about OCR and was featured heavily on the Folds of Honor social media channels. I would like to think that there are some people who saw me and thought if he can do this for 48 hours, than surely I can do event X or whatever else they are thinking about that is outside their comfort zone. While this is hard to quantify, from the outpouring of support of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers on social media, I think it worked.
3. A personal challenge: Having completed two (1, 2) major Ultra-OCR challenges in the last two years I wanted to put something on my calendar that would scare me. If the longest OCR is 24 hours, I would have to go big. But it shouldn’t just be a longer time length event, the obstacles should be harder and the conditions rougher. I picked Conquer The Gauntlet, the series with the hardest obstacles then I chose their toughest venue (Tulsa) during one of the hottest months (August).
Result: Not going to lie, this event broke my will. After 26.5 hours of continuous movement, I had to take a break. The temperatures were overheating my body and I felt like I was going to pass out coming out of the last two obstacles on lap 15 (I had the collapsing field of black that I've seen before the other times I've black out, usually from breath hold training). The terrain was tiring, many of the obstacles became impossible after lap 10 and the heat made me have to dig deep to continue. I ended up taking a six hour break to let the sun go down before continuing the event. I would start back up after those six hours and run an additional five laps before the event ended.
In the end I spent a total of 49 hours at Conquer The Gauntlet Tulsa covering 91 miles. Which was lower than I expected but after looking at some of the data (see below), you can see how the many variables of Ultra-OCR can affect the outcome.
World’s Toughest Mudder vs. Endure The Gauntlet
It’s easy to try to compare my performance with other Ultra-OCRs and expect a reasonable comparison on performance. However, the terrain, obstacles and conditions severely alter outcome. For example, my Personal Record (PR) at World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) is 90 miles in 24 hours finishing in 8th place but I’ve also done 24 hour OCRs where I have done 55 miles and won or 75 miles and come in 10th. In the past I’ve compared all four years of Las Vegas WTM, so I thought it would be cool to look at Endure The Gauntlet compared to WTM in Las Vegas (2014-2017):
|World’s Toughest Mudder||Endure The Gauntlet|
|Miles Per Lap||5||4.5|
|Obstacles Per Lap||~21||25|
|Obstacles Per 50 miles||~180 (first 1-2 laps are usually obstacle free)||277 (the 5×8 ft. walls count as one obstacle)|
|Elevation Gain Per Lap||830 feet (year dependent)||560 feet|
|Terrain||Hard pressed dirt with few rocks and several swims (terrain allows for wearing road shoes if desired…something I have done several times)||Technical, very rocky terrain with lots of uneven footing and one swim|
|Penalty Miles||~2 miles (if you failed all non-mandatory obstacles)||0 (I did no penalties but with a different pacer on each lap, pride made me try my best at each obstacle)|
|Temperatures||Lows of 40 degrees and water obstacles means staying warm is the hardest part||96 (day), 72 (night)
Staying cool during the day was the biggest challenge
|Number of Wall or Wall Type Obstacles I Completed at 45 miles||8-16 (1-2 wall type obstacles per lap with 1-2 obstacle free laps)||60 (each lap had 5×8 foot walls which count as one obstacle and one 12 foot wall)|
|Number of Grip Obstacles Per Lap||2-4 (Most years it was two but 2017 had four Funky Monkey, Kong Infinity, Hanging Tough and Rope a Dope)||5 (Stairway to Heaven, Tarzan Swing aka rig, Cliffhanger aka monkey bars, Pegatron, Rope Climb)|
|Number of Obstacles Requiring Explosive Strength||1 (Everest, all variants)||1 (Smooth Criminal, which also requires some grip strength)|
|Number of Low Crawl Obstacles||1-2||0|
|Number of Balance Obstacles||0-1||4 (Z beam, Slackin’ Off aka slackline, Boardwalk, Walk The Plank)|
|Number of Strength Obstacles Per Lap||0||2 (Conqueror’s Sandbag Carry and Crank it Up…the heaviest version I have ever seen)|
|Number of Fear Based Obstacles||2-3 (The Cliff, Operation, Arctic Enema)||1-2 (Torpedo (a slide) and Elephant Graveyard (a balance obstacles traversing poles that has a pipe traverse at the top aka more grip strength))|
|Number of Times I Lost a Callus or Got an Open Wound in the First 24 Hours||1||13|
|Mileage Performances||90 (PR in 2016), 70 (Worst Performance in 2015) in 24 hours||91 Miles total in 48 hours (I was around 59 miles at 24 hours)|
If you are still reading, the main takeaway is the mileage performances can’t be compared one to one. At 2016’s WTM I failed two obstacles total when I hit 90 miles (The Grappler both times). At Endure The Gauntlet I failed two or more obstacles due to strength or grip strength for almost every lap starting with lap three. While 91 miles may not seem that much to some in 48 hours, keep in mind with less fitness, two years ago I finished 90 miles at World’s Toughest Mudder.
Overall, the event felt like a success to me. I’m surpassed my goal for Folds of Honor, all the Facebook messages as well as cheering at the event I seem to have inspired others and I definitely hit some personal limits. Then I used a little bit of will power to push those limits one step further and that is what endurance is all about. The question for you the reader is:
What are you doing in the next year to redefine your own boundaries?
Huge thanks to everyone that provided pit support, donated to Folds of Honor and/or paced me during the event. Your support was crucial to the success of this event.
The Mainprize family as well as the build crew for letting me torture myself and especially David for taking the time to check on me when I needed it most. #CTGFamily
Another big thanks to all the sponsors of the event that supported the event through various means: Mud Run Guide, Strength & Speed, Inside Tracker, Elite Ops Energy Strips, Hammer Nutrition, Neptune Performance Products, BleggMits, Fitaid, Fat Gripz, Hylete and Kill Cliff. As well as all of the Conquer The Gauntlet Pro Team and their supporting sponsors, dryrobe, RockTape, Harbinger Fitness, JRen Fitness, Atomik Climbing Holds, OOFOS, Marena Sport, MudGear, Compex, Wreck Bag and Juice Performer. Plus thank you to Merrell for supporting me in my training and racing.
All my pacers (sorry if I missed anyone): Brenna Calvert, Jared Renyer, Alexis Buford, Rhett Buford, Jacob Stone, Jake Diehl, Jason Rulo, Steve Richardson, David Mainprize, Courtney Mainprize, Stephen Mainprize, Scott Wierzycki, Johnny Flores, Tabbie Wood, Chris Passanisi, Jack W. Thompson, Brian McDonough, Phillip Mainprize, Tina Marie Mdrigal, Alec Puckett, Katie Villareal, Daniel Leonard, Merideth McDonough, Jason Dupree, Roland Medina, Kevin Harkins, Logan Dinsmore and Taylor Lively. Plus, several of them would help out with pit crew duties along with my wife Amy, dad Terry and mom Cally.