Overcoming extreme obstacles

Running, crawling, carrying, swimming, hurdling, sweating, bleeding and swinging. This is just the basics of extreme races. Some may call it the Mud Run or the Spartan Race, but all have one thing in common, they push one’s body to its absolute limits.

Junior Julian Boffo participated in the Spartan Race. It consists of a series of obstacles spaced throughout a set distance that the racers have to run to ad complete. Not just anyone can hop in the race, competitors also have to be physically and mentally prepared.

“I normally lift and run so I feel I am always in shape physically for it, but the problem is always the mental preparation. It can be some of the most painful experiences, and you have to be ready to continue to push through it, block out the pain,” Boffo said.

There are different types of extreme race such as the Warrior Dash, Zombie Run, the Spartan Race and the most difficult of them all: the Tough Mudder. Justin Emrich, a social studies teacher at Berkshire Middle School, competed in all of these except the Spartan Race.

“The race was over 13 miles long and consisted of around 15 obstacles that included crawling through mud under barb wire, running through electrified cords, jumping into water that was filled with gallons of ice, and many other torturous activities,” Emrich said.

One can register for the Tough Mudder online at any time. If one registers early, and the starting fee will be about $125.00. Every few weeks, as it gets closer to the race, the price increases.

There are three different types of races: the challenge series, the competitive series and the elite sports series. Each type has multiple events under it and each race has different ranges of difficulty, length and amount of obstacles.

“My favorite part of the race was the obstacles. A friend and I completed the race together and we both had a great time cheering each other on and making fun of each other at the same time...It's a great way to challenge yourself and an awesome way to spend a day with friends,” Emrich said.

The races are usually an all day event and the people met and the memories made are endless.

“There are plenty of reasons as to why I think everyone should do this. From the people you meet along the way, the accomplishing feeling at the end when it's all over, and especially the struggle to push yourself beyond your limits and truly discover what you're capable of. It's a challenge for sure but one that is more than worth it,” Emrich said.

Even through the difficult training and the pain of the race itself, it’s all worth it for the feeling of accomplishment at the end.

“My favorite part of any race is without a doubt the sprint for the finish and for certain races you get to hurdle over a fire pit while hundreds of people at the finish are cheering for you as you run through. It is one of the most accomplishing feelings after spending hours in dirt, mud, water, and heat,” Boffo said.

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