Since running Conquer the Gauntlet in Arkansas in 2016, I’d been wanting to run another event. So, when the opportunity arose to run one in Texas, I jumped at the chance.
I snuck my way back into the Lone Star State with help from some secretive friends. The night before CTG, I made my way to Ragnar (thanks to my friend Jonathan) to surprise some of my friends who were running at the event. There were some surprised faces and many hugs, followed by a restless night sleeping in the car before we made our way to CTG.
It was an overcast morning and a cool breeze was blowing – perfect for a run through a 5000-acre ranch in central Texas. The last thing you want out here is a hot day and no water obstacles.
I joined others as we jumped over the 6’ wall to get into the start chute, and we patiently waited for 9:30 so we could take on the course. The only impatient one was Roxie the Aussie who insisted on barking like crazy because she was so excited!
As the word ‘GO!’ was yelled, we moved forward and waded through chest-deep water before jumping out and running along the trails towards the obstacles. Log hops were first, followed by another wade through water – where the biggest challenge was not getting your feet caught but the stringy plants that lived at the bottom of the big pond.
We clambered up and over a log ladder before taking on a small slant wall and belly of the beast. Belly of the beast is an interesting obstacle that requires good grip strength. Last year I gave up halfway as I didn’t believe that I could complete the obstacle. This year however I managed to get all the way down to ring the bell. Enter proud moment here.
A walk over horizontal pipes was next, followed by Stairway to Heaven. Now I lack the basic strength to lift my bodyweight like that so I didn’t even attempt it – but I want to be able to get it done someday! It takes a good amount of upper body strength and finger strength – so I applaud anyone who can tackle it.
I crawled under logs and balanced on others before admiring the ‘mountains’ of Texas (read: hills). I’d been following two others before realising that there were no more markings, so I called out to the guys ahead of me and we backtracked to find the course markings again. At that point I started chatting to someone else on course, who later introduced himself as Roland.
We jogged along whilst discussing OCR (what else would we talk about?) and trying to avoid twisting ankles on the rugged terrain, or getting pricked by cacti (which was everywhere).
Next up was a log ladder and rope climb down, and CTG’s massive slant wall. Thankfully this year it wasn’t straight after a water obstacle so it was easy to get up without water and mud everywhere. Pegatron was next (another impossible obstacle for me), then an inverted log ladder and balance beams. I realised that trying to film someone doing balance beams, whilst walking on balance beams myself, proved to be very difficult!
Roland and I hopped and crawled over/under more logs before arriving at the Green Beret Challenge walls. The walls included an 8’ log wall, 8’ wall, 6’ wall and two 4’ walls. A nice change from the normal onslaught of 5 x 6’ walls in a row! By the time we got to the Irish Table I stopped for a quick power nap.
We hopped over more logs before arriving at the makeshift rigs. I struggle with rigs at the best of times, so knowing that I wouldn’t be able to complete it, I decided on doing a Tarzan style swing and laughed as I ran away from the obstacle. The rope climb was next, followed by the final obstacle – a giant cargo net.
We crossed the finish line together and were handed our medals before heading off to volunteer.
When I checked the results, I realised I came 20th in my age group, meaning if I’d actually run a little bit faster I would’ve qualified to run in the age group division for the 2018 OCRWC! But I can’t change the past – so I will have to work hard next time and qualify!
This year’s CTG wasn’t as challenging obstacle wise compared to last year’s event in Little Rock, but I enjoyed myself and I know others pushed themselves outside of their comfort zones. It’s also good to support family-run events as they always make you feel welcome and special 😀
Event: Conquer the Gauntlet
Type: Obstacle Race
Distance: 4 miles
Location: Mountain Home, Texas
Date: 21 October 2017