History Channel’s – The Selection: Evolution 8 Recap

Evolution 8: March of Tears

As we start the 8th and final episode of the show, lets do a brief review. In episode 1 we were introduced to the 6 instructors, all with special ops backgrounds, and the 30 candidates. During the past 8 weeks, we saw many of them drop for various reason. Many of them became fan favorites such as candidate #30. Unfortunately, he just could not handle the swim and dropped in episode 2.  We saw the sisters, #8 and #9 also drop in episode 2. The show started with 7 female candidates and we saw the final female candidate #3 drop in episode 6. We were told of the backgrounds of some the candidates, ranging from a firefighter to OCR racers, and that the group consisted of various ages, with our oldest candidate, #11, being 45 years old.

We learned, though the interview segments of the episodes, what motivated each of them to do this. Many of them started out strong but just could not handle the mental and physical punishment they had to endure. When all was said and done we are left with 5 candidates going into tonight’s final evolution. If you want to read more about the instructors and candidates check out their bios here.

Because some of the episodes occurred overnight as we begin episode 8, we see it is day 10 of the selection.  Candidates #2, #11, #12, #17 and #19 remain to face the final evolution. The candidates are told that this is is the start of FTX, Field Training Exercises. This will be utilizing many of the skills they have been taught in the past 10 days in order to successfully complete the evolution.

The candidates are loaded into a helicopter and are first told they will be dropped at a LZ (landing zone) but like a true mission, things can change in a moment. They are told there has been a change and that will be doing a helo-cast approximately 1 mile off shore from a height of about 20 feet. Awaiting them will be a zodiac to take them to the next portion of the mission. Now remember, while they did a couple of evolutions in water (both beach and pool) nothing really prepared them for a drop of 20ft into the ocean. In fact I thought they would have to swim towards shore, not get into the zodiac. So overcoming any fear of heights they all safely made the jump and got into the zodiac.

We see them next heading to shore where the instructor Haggerty is awaiting tells them they have 3 hours to build a hide-sight to conceal the boat and themselves. Failure at this would mean a drop for them all. They appear to do a good job at this and at this point we see an unknown person approach the group and tells them to move out and head over to a van where they put on blackout googles and a hood to be taken an undisclosed location.

Once they arrive they are promptly placed into wooden boxes, similar to the resistance exercise they experienced in episode 4. Candidate #12 was placed in a box by himself while #17 and #19 were put into a box together as were candidates #11 and #2.  The goal of this portion of the evolution is to attempt to escape when the time is right. We see that candidate #11 has the ability to slightly lift his lid despite having a carabiner on the clasp holding it shut. He is able to unscrew the carabiner and after discussing it with his mates (they are talking in a low voice) they decide to wait for the proper time to escape.

After about eight hours of being in the box, and getting some rest, they decide that now is the time to escape. It is now day 11 and about 7am in the morning. While they had no idea where to escape to, they make their move. Candidate #11 is able to screw loose the carabiner and release his team mates. They are seen scurrying up a nearby hill when they are called back by Instructors Bowen and Kuntz and told to come back. Oh shit… What next??  Fortunately they are told that they completed this segment of the evolution. Next up is the evasive aspect of the evolution; they need to get out of enemy territory.

We now enter what will be, unbeknownst to the candidates, the final challenge of the episode; the evasive portion, which consists of a long distance ruck march. The candidates will be carrying 55 lbs. of gear on their back as they begin a march of undetermined time and distance. While we the audience are told that it is a 16.5 mile march with about 1000 ft. in elevation change that must be completed before sundown, the candidates don’t know this and this adds to the mental aspect of the challenge, the unknown. They have gone 27 hours with little or no sleep and the starting temperature for the march is 90 degrees.

As they start, they of course are looking strong and go out as a group. But soon the heat and distance starts to take it’s toll. There are checkpoints, basically ammo cans, along the route that each candidate must go to and retrieve a slip of paper with their number on it. Along the way there is talk about what to do with slow team mates, should they drop them? As they get farther along the group spreads out into 2 group; lead group consisting of candidates #12 and #19 and the trailing groups consisting of candidates # 2, #11 and #17.

About 12.5 miles in, the heat gets to about 104 degrees and they are facing a 1/4 mile climb of about 900 ft. to the top of a hill and checkpoint #4. An instructor is there to make sure they hydrate and to let them know that the toughest part is still to come. At this point candidates #2, #11 and #17 decide to rest a bit and re-hydrate. Here #2 is heard saying that he is going to keep going.. gotta try.

It is here that candidate #17 decides to turn in his patch. The heat and uncertainty of the march just was too much for him. He has done well, despite the issues he faced in episode 7 and receives some well deserved accolades from the instructors.

By now candidate #12 has moved to the front of the pack and you can see that he is struggling. At this point the instructors are wondering if they will have a “Black Class”, a class in which no one finishes. We finally see instructor’s Bowen and Kuntz on the side of the road as candidate #12 approaches. He is told to drop his rucks and you can see that he is wondering what is next. It is at this point he is told he has completed the Selection. The tears of joy are obvious on #12’s face.

Candidates #2 and #11 are seen struggling on the climb but finish that part of the march. And once again we see instructor;s Bowen and Kuntz on the side of the road, this time as candidate #19 approaches. He too is asked to drop his ruck. Candidate #12 comes over and congratulates him but he still does not know that the journey is over. Finally he is told that he has successfully completed the Selection. A look of shock comes over his face.

As the final 2 candidates make their ways to the end, doubts on the part of #11 start to set it. While he will not leave #2 behind, it appears that he just might quit.  Candidate #2 keeps them both going and eventually we can see them as they near the finish. They both seem relieved to see the instructors and candidates #12 and #19 waiting for them. It is obvious by candidates #11 voice, when told that they have completed the Selection, that he is both surprised and shocked that it is finally over.

Lots of hugs and congratulation between the candidates and the instructors. As they finish the episode, and the show, we hear for the first time the instructors refer to the candidates not by a number, but by their names. Congratulations to the final 4 candidates;

#2 – Cliff Braun

#11 – Christian Griffith

#12 – Ryan Kent

#19 – Logan Nagle

And so their grueling 11 day trip to hell and back has finally ended. We have seen these 4 men overcome many demons, issues and doubts to make it across the finish line. Well done my friends.  And a shout out to Christian Griffith, aka #11, “How Does It Feel Old Man?”

Read recaps of previous episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.

Final Words… I want to say thank you to the editors of Obstacle Racing Media for allowing me the opportunity to write and share the recaps and to A&E Networks and the History Channel for allowing me access to the episodes prior to their airings. And a big thank you to, the readers’. I hope you enjoyed them.
All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks

History Channel’s – The Selection: Evolution 7 Recap

Evolution 7: Integrity and Humility

With only 2 episodes left, there are 5 remaining candidates: #2, #11, #12, #17 and #19. They start off the episode with the candidates doing more PT, and then, we are transitioned into seeing the candidates receiving medical attention for various issues. Candidate #2 has knees that have been worn raw. Candidate #19 has a blood blister (and we also learn that while he has a size 10.5 foot, he is wearing size 8 boots. WTF?), and we get to see #11’s medical issue: butt blisters. I am sure there are jokes and comments to be made on this issue, and I will leave that up to the audience.

At the same time that medical is going on, the instructors are reviewing the candidates. This is one of my favorite parts of the episode. They feel that #2 has transformed himself. They feel that #19 is not excitable. They wonder if there is something eating at #12, but they also comment on the passion of #11 and #12. They also comment that, despite his age, #11 is being carried through by his passion.

Candidate #17 is taken for an interrogation and when asked, “Why are you here,” he replies with the same answer he has given in the past and this irks the instructors. He opens up and reveals that he believes he is the weakest link on the team. He also states that he has thought about becoming a SEAL and felt that this was a good experience to prepare him for that path if he so chooses. He also mentioned that he was bullied growing up because of his small stature. The instructors tell him that he needs to step up if he is going to make it to the end.

We finally come to the episode’s evolution: INTEGRITY. Basically, the candidates are going to run a 2.1-mile course with 6 PT stations. At each station, they are to do 50 reps of a predetermined exercise.

  1. Squats with ammo cans
  2. Shoulder presses with ammo cans
  3. Push-ups
  4. Burpees
  5. Jumping Jacks
  6. Return the ammo cans to the pits and then run to the top of Flag hill and back.

What they aren’t aware of is that they will be filmed at each station and that the instructors are looking for integrity violations – candidates who says they did all the required exercises but really did not. It is during this segment that instructor Ray Care says something that resonates with may of us who do OCR’s, GORUCK‘s, marathon’s etc.: “People want to get dropped off at the top of the hill and look down.” We have all heard of how others want things handed to them without working for it, but instructor Care said it best. Plain and simple, if you want to make it to the top, you are going to have to climb it. Good words to live by.

The candidates seem to finish the evolution with no issues and are seen relaxing for a while before they are back in the classroom. It is here that # 17 is asked to stand and read from the board: what is the meaning of integrity? The class is asked why it thinks the instructor has asked #17 to read the meaning of integrity aloud. Yes, it appears that someone has broken the integrity rule. Someone did not do the required 50 burpees at station #4.

When asked who might not have done all the burpees, at first no one replies, but then, #17 stands up and states that he may not have completed all 50. He stated that he was overheated and may have missed a couple. This does not set well with the Instructor who states that #11 was overheated as well and did all 50 of his burpees. He gave kudos to #11 for doing it all despite his age and the heat.

As they finish up in the classroom, you can see that #17 is upset at himself for his infraction. The team is very supportive of him and #11 can be heard saying, “Everything is a learning experience.”

Candidate #17 later has a one on one with Instructor Care who asks, “Why did you not complete the 2 burpees?” He really could not provide a good answer. He is disappointed in himself and feels that he should quit. The instructor tells him not to quit (I was a bit surprised, but then thinking back, again we learn from out mistakes. He admitted he made a mistake and was willing to accept his punishment), but he is told that he owes the instructor 50 burpees and that he will have to pay his debt later. The instructor believes he has integrity and #17 is seen leaving to go apologize to his teammates for his failure. Like a good strong team, they are very supportive of #17 and forgive him.

The instructor then calls out #17 to “pay back” his 50 burpees, and we see the whole team come out to do burpees as a team. This is what teamwork is all about and what the instructors strive to instill in the candidates. You win as a team and you lose as a team. When all is said and done, the instructor and #17 are all squared.

In reflecting back on this episode, there seemed to be a lot of “down time” for the candidates. Was it time for reflection on their part or part of some mental game being played on the part of the instructors?  Making the candidates wonder when the other shoe drops? As the evolution ends, we see instructors interviewing the candidates; #2 is emotionally weak and thinking of quitting; #11, when asked about his role in the group, states that he thinks he is a leader  and is able to share his life experiences with the team; #12 still feels that he has to prove himself to his dad who has never told him how proud he is of him; and we close with #19 when asked what one thing he has learned from his experience so far he replies, “Humility.”

Next week’s episode appears to be the culmination of everything the candidates have been taught and experienced during the past 7 episodes. In the previews, we see what appears to be the return of the box, and based on the comments made by the instructors in the preview, does anyone make it through? Looking forward to seeing the final episode.

Read recaps of previous episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.
All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks

(Some) Answers About Tougher Mudder

Tougher Mudder

We’ve reached out to TMHQ and here is what we have learned so far regarding the recent Tougher Mudder announcement.

  • It is a timed start wave at a regular Tough Mudder using timing chips and/or bibs.
  • It will cost $30 extra to register for one of these waves.
  • It will take place prior to the first standard Tough Mudder start wave of the day. Closer to the event you’ve registered for, check your email and online for pre-event communications for details on the exact start time for each event.
  • So far, Tougher Mudders will happen Saturday Morning ONLY at the following events:
    • New Orleans  March 18, 2017
    • Los Angeles    March 25, 2017
    • Arizona            April 8, 2017
    • Kentucky         June 3, 2017
  • There MAY be more Tougher events added as the year goes on.
  • You can purchase an add-on ticket for Tougher Mudder if you’ve already signed up for a regular Tough Mudder.
  • There will NOT be day of, on-site sales for Tougher Mudder.
  • Tougher Mudder will be part of the existing Tough Mudder course and obstacles, but will include an additional set of course challenges, specifically created for Tougher Mudder participants.
  • There will be prizes of $500, $250, and $100 for the top male and female participants.
  • There are currently NO team categories or prizes for Tougher Mudder.
  • ALL participants will get Tougher Mudder t-shirt, Tough Mudder headband, and chance to win prize money or discounts to Toughest Mudder events

Comment below with your questions, and we will update this article when we have the answers.

Rise of the social fitness challenge and OCR

Rise of the challenge

As the 2017 OCR season gradually opens up, you may find yourself looking for something to challenge you. You need to train, but that’s boring on its own. You crave that social world that OCR offers, but it’s months before you can actually participate. Sometimes you need something to engage you between races during the season. If you’ve been anywhere near the social media groups that have formed around our sport, you will have noticed the appearance of fitness challenges.If you are like me, you are not really surrounded by a lot of fellow OCR enthusiasts that share your particular brand of workout crazy, a social fitness challenge group may be for you. I’ll highlight some of the main fitness challenge groups related to OCR that are available:

OCRbeast.co

OCR Beast Co. offer a range of excellent paid Obstacle Course Racing specific coaching programs – available for monthly subscription from their website. They also run regular free challenges throughout the year on instagram. Most recently the dead hang challenge had , and the May Murph challenge they ran earlier this year. They have a great deal of community support and participation with over 6000 followers. Their challenges tend to last 30 days or so and have scaling options for all participants. Stay tuned for what they have coming next and definitely check into the coaching programs they offer.

Charity Challenges

Charity Challenges grew out of a twitter conversation between some friends in October, 2013. Since then they have steadily branched into a wide range of different fitness challenges and virtual events, many of which are applicable and support the sport of OCR. The primary goal of Charity Challenges is to raise money for charity, while allowing participants to enjoy fitness challenges. To participate, you donate to join that challenge, and log your reps for that challenge using your account on the charity challenges website. Team challenges are available and encouraged. Charity Challenges are extremely well attended with thousands of participants. Charity challenges produces patches and badges for completion of challenges. They are currently running a 1000 mile challenge which will last the entire year of 2017. You can sign up for that here

Machete 30

No automatic alt text available.

A branch of Machete Madness, Machete 30 was founded by Victor Carrillo. Victor underwent an incredible transformation of his own to become a well recognized face in the world of obstacle course racing and now, among other things, he runs a Facebook challenge group that boasts 1200+ members. A new free fitness challenge is created and delivered to the group each month. Participants are encouraged to complete the movements each day of the month and to post a video or photograph of themselves doing so. Challenges are usually quite accessible for beginners and highly conditioned athletes alike, often involving minimal equipment. Victor is really great at engaging and encouraging participants, and community support is strong. If you’re looking for some real Machete Madness, check out Machete Madness events.

Captain Kaufmann

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Jeremy Kaufmann has produced a years worth of OCR based fitness challenges and workouts in the form of a book. Detailing dozens of innovative and tough fitness challenges, the Captain’s playbook is available both in print and in eBook form. Jeremy’s work spans a wide variety of movements essential to becoming elite at obstacle racing. I also think it is a great strength that Jeremy’s challenges are often body-weight based or may involve just basic equipment – that means it’s usually pretty easy to jump in without the need of a gym or weights. It might help to have wreck-bag or weighted vest for some challenges.  Watch out for posts with #captainschallenge on his instagram feed.

OCR Guy Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@ocrguychallenge is run by myself (Glenn Hole). Currently in it’s 4th volume, ocrguychallenge is a co-operative challenge group, bringing trainers, athletes and participants together under one free community. Most of the challenges are tough, but we usually offer some scaling options for novices. I like to limit challenges to just one week, which allows prominent members of the OCR community (like team HEXT, Anna Solomon, Austin Azar, Josh Stryde and Lindsay Webster) to help out without too much of a time commitment. Previous challenges have included a bucket carry for distance, pull-ups, distance running, sleep and recovery, nutrition, yoga and OCR fitness bench-marking weeks. For finishers, I produce virtual badges for the completion of each challenge, and occasionally prizes are available. To join the next challenge follow @ocrguychallenge on instagram or join the ocrguychallenge facebook group.

Other notable players to watch:

We’ve also seen notable one off challenges from the Wieclawek Brothers @YYCbrosOCR, Hunter McIntyre @huntthesheriff, @southjersey_ocr, and @teamsocialmisfits. Watch these accounts for challenges in the future!

Conclusion

The social fitness challenge is an exciting new phenomenon that seems to have grown in some part at least from the broad appeal of OCR as a sport and a lifestyle. Love them or hate them, fitness challenges are growing all the time. For me, the challenges allow me to connect with friends I’ve made on the OCR circuit in a meaningful way. We get to compete with each other and endure difficult things together each time we get together for a challenge because that’s part of why we race in the first place. It’s also a great way to hold myself and others accountable to a high standard of fitness during the off season and between races. It’s a way of developing new friendships, teams and alliances. If you feel like you need something to keep you accountable and motivated until your next race, jump in on a fitness challenge!

Which fitness challenges have you enjoyed? Are there any I have missed? Leave a comment below.

History Channel’s – The Selection: Evolution 6 Recap

Evolution 6: Seed of Doubt

We start this episode with the separate interviews of Candidates #2 and #3, our couple on the show. When asked about how he was doing, #2 felt he was doing good. He was asked about candidate #3 and felt that she was empowered on her end. He shows concern for her and the instructors jump on it. During her interview #3 feels that she is the best overall. Not the top, but not the bottom, just overall. She mentions that she hates long rucks with heavy weights and we hear the instructors state that these are both in her future.

Candidate #2 is removed as the team leader and replaced with candidate # 3. The candidates are also told that the instructors will give orders once and they are expected to follow them. This looks to be an interesting show as the mind games continue on the part of the instructors.

The first part of the evolution is a physical fitness test consisting of, pull ups, push ups, kick ups, sit ups, dips, bench press, rope climb while wearing a 20# vest, and finishing with a 5 mile run. They will be scored on all sections, best to worst. This will help the instructors to rank the candidates (I’m sure in regards to future evolutions.)

While everyone does well on this, candidates #3 and #19 could not complete the rope climb with weights. As we see the candidates finish the 5 mile run we are given their scores;

  • #17 – 96%
  • #12 – 92%
  • #19 – 83%
  • #2 – 80%
  • #11 – 78%
  • #2 – 65%

As day 8 begins, the mental games directed towards candidate #3 increase. We learn that the next part of the evolution will be a long ruck with a 45 lbs. of weight on their backs. Candidate #3’s biggest fear is about to come true. The candidates will be rucking with 45 lbs of weight on their back for a distance of 4 miles.

The course is hot (the temperature is 104 degrees), with steep segments and the instructor is setting the pace for the team. Candidate #3 is carrying approx 40% of her body weight on her back. That has got to take a toll on her. We see them as they cross what they thought was going to be the finish of the evolution, but the instructors have other plans; they are told that they will do it again, for time. The looks on #3’s face says it all.

We see #2 talking to #3 telling him that she can barely walk and is considering quitting. But somehow she manages to find the strength to move on and starts the 4 mile ruck again. We see #12, the fastest runner of the group running back at mile 6.8 as he passes #3 as she is still moving out.  She is struggling and the mental demons are all over her. Seriously thought that she would call it quits while on the ruck but she manages to finish it. The instructors tell her to hit the dip tank (a tank full of what appears to be ice water) to cool down as she is overheated from the ruck.

Now earlier in the evolution, #2 and #3 are told to stay separated but they disregard the instruction, #3 is relying on #2 to keep her going and they are penalized when they are caught. Candidate #3 was unable to do the punishment, push ups, quickly enough so the whole team gets penalized for their infraction and has to do the push-ups as well. Seems that the focus of this week’s evolution is to make #3 drop.

During the push ups, the instructors start the mind games up by bringing in plates of food and offering them to anyone that quits. Realizing this is not working, the instructors tell the candidates that it is “sugar cookie” time and they need to hit the dip tank and then start rolling in the sand. Candidate #3 is barely moving and the instructors start yelling for her to move it. She enters the dip tank and at that point, she tells the instructors, “I’m done.”

The instructors have high praise for her but the ruck was her downfall. Up until this point, she has kept up with men in the group. She knew her weakness and unfortunately it brought her down.

Candidate #17 is made the new class leader and we see the instructors telling #2 not to quit. He needs to focus on what lies ahead.

Candidate #12 is taken in for an interview and he reveals that he could do better and that the box in episode 4 was the toughest thing for him to endure. But despite it all, he never thought about quitting.

As the evolution ends we see candidates discussing how they feel. Candidate #17 states that his legs are paying for it and they feel numb. We see #12 crying (or appears to be on the verge of crying) and realize that this has been tough on them all so far. Final comment from the instructor Ray Care, “We have to strip everybody down to bare essentials and rebuild them.”

So 5 candidates remaining, #2, #11, #12, #17 and #19 and only 2 evolutions left. The previews for evolution #7 look interesting. It appears that more PT is on the horizon. Candidate #2, will he quit? Same goes for #17. And who was the integrity violator? Can’t wait to find out who makes it in the upcoming evolution and onto the final evolution.

Read recaps of previous episodes here:

Watch the episodes here

All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks

OCRWC Announces US Championship

This morning, Adrian Bijanada and the OCRWC announced a United States Championship to take place Labor Day weekend in Texas. Keeping with the #ocrunited theme of the World Championships, The U.S. only version already has several races on board including Savage, Green Beret Challenge, BoneFrog Challenge, Warrior Dash, Terrain Racing, Conquer the Gauntlet, and more. These races will all be qualifiers for this new Championship. They will all, in theory, be donating obstacles for the actual race this Fall as well.

The complete press release will follow at the bottom of the page.

But first…Some quick Q and A With Adrian Bijanada

ORM: Is this event being produced with your partners from OCRWC?

AB: Yup, 365 Sports will be one of the partners helping to bring this to life.

ORM: Is this event open only to US Citizens?

AB: We are following the same path as similar competitions like US Track and Field. You must be a U.S. Citizen or a something called a “U.S. National”. A “National” is someone who has lived here for at least 3 years and has the ability to represent the United States in other competitions.

ORM: Will there be a journeyman category?

AB: No, because there is currently no qualification for the Open divisions.

ORM: So, to clarify, anyone can sign up for the Open (Non-Pro) division?

ABFor the inaugural year, and presently, there is no qualification for the Open divisions.

ORM: What about prize money? Will it be for all divisions?

AB: Cash prizes are definite for the Pro, we are currently determining the feasibility for age groups (Open division) prize money.

ORM: Can we expect maybe a U.K. version of OCRWC? Or perhaps a European version?

AB: We currently have no plans for additional events beyond this and the OCRWC

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNITED STATES OBSTACLE COURSE RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS TO TAKE PLACE IN TEXAS ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND

New York, NY, January 12, 2017 – Adventurey LLC, organizers of the independent Obstacle Course Racing World Championships, announced today the launch of the first United States Obstacle Course Racing Championships (USOCRC) to be held on Labor Day weekend, September 2 & 3, at Y.O. Ranch Headquarters, Mountain Home, Texas.

The two day event will consist of a 3k short course competition on Saturday, September 2, followed by a 15k long course championship on Sunday, September 3. Both distances will feature a Pro Division for qualified athletes as well as Open Divisions for Age Group competitors. Qualifying criteria will be available at http://USOCRChamps.com in the coming days. Additionally, qualifying spots for the 2017 OCR World Championships will be awarded for top Pro and Age Group division finishers.

“The sport of obstacle course racing continues grow at an amazing pace with the support of many like-minded companies and individuals looking to take it to the next level,” said Adventurey CEO Adrian Bijanada. “With enthusiastic community support, strong partnerships, and a deep bench of professionals willing to work together for the betterment of the sport, the U.S. Obstacle Course Racing Championships is poised to be another incredible experience for obstacle course racers from all over the country.”

In an effort to serve the growing community, the 2017 USOCRC will feature obstacles from many United States-based partners, including: Green Beret Challenge, Savage Race, BoneFrog Challenge, Warrior Dash, Terrain Racing, Conquer the Gauntlet, Indian Mud Run and more. Additional details will be available shortly on http://USOCRChamps.com.

About Adventurey, LLC

Founded in 2013, Adventurey, LLC is a New York City based company whose holdings include eCommerce, Event Production, and Marketing companies specialized in the endurance sports industry.

Media inquiries may be sent to HQ@USOCRChamps.com.