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Bermuda Triple Challenge

Bermuda Triple Challenge Beach 1

Arriving to Bermuda was like falling into a dream. It’s a picturesque paradise lined with whispering palms, white sand beaches, and water like glass. Its so fucking beautiful there.  Not to mention that Matt and I traveled ALONE,  without kids hanging on our legs, or punching each other in the face. No noise. No chaos. No fighting. No crying. I think it was the first time in years I had any consecutive days without someone crying.

Honestly, I was in no mood to race. I saw the beach and wanted to lay there for four days straight. Maybe not even eat, just lay there.

I had to keep mentally preparing myself. There were 3 races, so it was the perfect “race-cation”. Friday night was the Argus Urban Footrace, staged all around the town of St. George’s. The race distance was between 2 and 3 miles. The roads were so narrow and windy, and hilly. Just picture running in a european beach town. The streets were filled with pops of color, wild flowers, salty air, and quaint cottages. In between were 33 obstacles , yes I  said 33, on the streets of Bermuda. I’m pretty sure they don’t regulate obstacles there. The guys thought, “That would be cool”, and they just made it.

Bermuda Triple Challenge - Val

At one point I climbed over rope net that was draped over a fucking BUS. Just a bus sitting in the middle of this course with people climbing over it. Not to mention that the net was slipping most of the way down but no big deal.  Then we jumped over cars. Literally jumped on the hoods of two cars and then into the back seat of a van and through the windows of a random four door car. It was like Dukes of Hazard turned into an obstacle. Meanwhile, there was no mud, just friendly volunteers in army fatigues saying “this way” and giving commands in Bermudian accents. Lots and lots of walls and container climbs. The spider web was a mass of tangled ropes and Im pretty sure it could’ve caused some serious rope injuries but no one seemed phased. As the sun set, it started to get chilly. we approached a hill and had to tie our ankles and jump up the hill, it was harder than you think. Following looking like a complete idiot with tied ankles, we had to then bear crawl down a huge hill.

Bermuda Triple Challenge

This was not an easy race. Finally we got to the rope climb, then there was run along the wall of the ocean. I guess you could say it was like running on a glorified curb with a 15 foot drop to the sea in the dark. “Holy Shit! I can’t see!” I said to Matt. Mostly pretending I wasn’t thinking about how easily I could miss a step and just fall into the ocean. Laughing to Matt I said,” I hope I don’t fall in and DIE.”  Did anyone think of that? Maybe, maybe not, but possibly another exciting pro to doing a true grass roots race. No frills, no bullshit, nothing fancy at all, but a whole lot of great.

Race #2, The Sun Life Island Challenge, was absolutely stunning. We raced on the South Shore Beaches, which are some of most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Running on the beach was fantastic, the grains of sand in my shoes were so much better than mud. I LOVED the sand. One obstacle was crossing the ocean for about 500 feet. The water was so clear and crisp, it was amazing.

Bermuda Triple Challenge Beach 2

The sand hills were not easy, trudging up a hill sticking in the sand AND carrying weight was tough. Although looking at the vast blue ocean and swaying trees in the breeze was so relaxing.  At one point, we filled the sand bags ourselves, a truly sustainable moment. The elements were so kind and breath taking. It was like the best of both worlds. The obstacles were challenges, with moments of “Holy Shit this is Amazing.” throughout the course. There were some barb wire crawls that nearly killed me because the sand made it a true crawl. I did say “FUCK THAT!” when I came up to the 25 foot “Assault” wall. That was the highest wall I’ve seen. Probably not, but I just couldn’t get the nerve. I did some burpees and moved on. Being on that beach kinda felt like being on survivor, except there was an end in sight with food and Gatorade.

Bermuda Triple Challenge Assault Wall

Race #3, The Chubb Royal Challenge, was seriously insane. It took place in the Royal Navy Dockyards, and was so insanely fun. I’m pretty sure Joe Desena himself would be pleased with his competition. Imagine Spartan Race meets an island with an adventure water park. It all started with a swim, and not just any swim. It was on the colder side that morning. There was a chilly breeze and the sun was barely peaking out, so the ocean was freezing. It was at a dock yard with an old abandoned prison on the grounds. We ran out to a wall off the ocean that was about 15 feet high and it was a jump and swim. A rescue boat floated beside the swimmers as they moved as fast as fucking possible swimming about 500 feet. They made an announcement at the beginning of the race to let people know that if you could not swim, DO NOT do the jump and swim. Maybe that’s why they had no life jackets, or maybe the boat was just one big life jacket for all. Many of us skipped the swim and did burpees. Yes I skipped the swim, but I had to do Instagram for ORM.

Bermuda Triple Challenge Money Shot

This was the hardest race of the three because it had so many water obstacles. There were 23 obstacles. Some were log carry, spear throw and Tarzan swing. At one point on the course there were sheep meandering around amongst the racers. Damn, I wish I got a picture of that. The zip line was pretty epic, and I was too big of a chicken shit to do it. Also I was doing Instagram for ORM, what would i have done with my phone? There stood the red dumpster with the cargo net to climb up and grab the zip line. People were flying over the ocean, it was awesome.

OH MY GOD, I almost forgot. There was a rope traverse that stretched across the ocean from wall to wall of the dock. It was a long way across and people were falling in left and right. Then there were a few guys and chicks that absolutely killed it, watching them perfect the balancing act with the ocean backdrop was amazing. The prison was eerie and beautiful and the view from the top was of the vast ocean and blue sky. Racers ran through disheveled stone doorways and skipped down terrifyingly narrow stairs. The stairs and doorways were obstacles in themselves. When you got to the roof there were volunteers holding flash cards with math problems on them and you had to get the correct answer or do burpees. This race had a great finale. There was a huge free spread of delicious food at the finish, and a beautiful, grassy place to gather with tables and seating everywhere.

Bermuda Triple Challenge - Traverse


Bermuda Triple Challenge wasn’t a race. It was an adventure filled with heart and true beauty. It was a vacation with unexpected challenges and a great community of kind people. I will definitely be back, with my husband, and without my kids.

Register for the next event at

Tons more photos over on their Facebook page.

Sand here instead of mud . Sand Glorious sand #thinkoutsidethebox #bermuda #ocr #bdatriplechallenge @bdatriplechallenge

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Norm Koch

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Norm Koch

On today’s show we speak with Norm Koch. Norm recently left Spartan Race after 6 years. We talk to him about:

  • His career prior to OCR
  • His early days an obstacle racer and Death Racer
  • Why he left Spartan Race
  • His thoughts on the industry as a whole
  • Much more.

Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

BattleGrounds – May 20th and Sept 23, 2017. Use code ORM10 for $10 off registration.

Show Notes:

Bermuda Triple Challenge – ORM Video coming soon!

Norm’s first appearance on this show – Episode 16 from 2012.

Other Podcasts To Check Out

World’s Toughest Podcast

NE Spahtens Podcast

Dirt In Your Skirt Podcast

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

OCR Transformations- Katie Purcell

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Katie grew up in Fairfield County, the suburbia of Connecticut which many would reference as “the OC of the East Coast”. Although she lived in a great location on the outskirts of New York City which allowed her to go to the city on the weekends and to the beach in the summer…the pressure of fitting in to a certain “norm” was very predominate. Social influences started shaping Katie’s future at a young age which would haunt her for years to come.


One day during lunch in the 8th grade, Katie remembers her friends talking about dieting, starving themselves, and making themselves throw up in order to look a certain way. At the time Katie thought they were a bunch of attention crazed young girls, until the trend kept catching on among her group. Before she knew it, Katie was getting sucked in to this diet “trend”. From that point on she experienced the slippery slope of dieting which became easier for her to hide her habits when she was transferred out of town for high school.

Katie Before 3

Katie began to literally eat just a single apple a day and then the next day she would binge and purge. This vicious cycle took a toll on her mind and body. Katie would spend countless nights crying herself to sleep not knowing if she would wake up the next day from the lack of nutrients in her body. The whole experience put a lot of stress on her relationship with her family. Katie even had thoughts of not being able to graduate high school or succeed in college. Her college social life was also hindered by her eating disorder because she would constantly avoid social outings where food was involved (very limited time to hang out in college).

Katie Before 2

The stress and pressure of her habits came to a head when she dropped out of college halfway through her freshmen year. Once she got home, Katie went in to therapy for 6-8 months for general depression which in turn brought to light her eating issues that needed to be addressed in order for her to move forward in her life.

Katie Before 185


A few years ago, Katie was able to finally start going to the gym and take fitness more seriously (other than elliptical sessions to burn calories). Her friend Kristi asked her if she wanted to sign up for a Spartan Race that November. This gave her something to train for and she was able to tailor her workouts toward prepping for the Fenway Park Spartan Sprint. Having a goal gave Katie more motivation to work out in the right way so that she could develop strength enough to do the obstacles.

Katie Sand Bag

The impact of Katie’s first obstacle race left her with an indescribable feeling. In that moment, she was the proudest of herself she had ever thought possible. She felt invincible and grateful for how far she had come in order to get to that point. She knew that from finishing her first race, she was able to open an entirely new chapter of her life. She was now ready to take on any obstacle that came her way (literally). Previously, Katie was the girl who would actually black out just walking up stairs from being so unhealthy and nutrient deprived. After her first event, she knew that all of the hard work she had done for herself was paying off. The emotional, psychological, and physical growth Katie endured allowed her to complete the course. This event marked the moment that all of her baggage and pain was able to melt away…Katie was finally able to move forward with her new life.

Katie Back Flex


The more she competed; Katie noticed that her race stats were actually pretty good compared to others. She was also able to deduct that her performance was better when she provided herself proper nutrition verse the days she didn’t. The experiences of OCR also helped Katie shift her priorities because of how proud she began to feel after finishing a race. She felt like she accomplished something while having healthy fun and her new healthy hobby allowed her to focus on the person in the mirror and not on the number on the scale. The new friendships she had developed at OCR events made her want to be a part of something instead of taking herself out of the game.

Katie Rope Swing

There was a memorable weekend for Katie that truly helped drive home the fact that in order to race efficiently, her health and nutrition had to be her number one focus. She did an event that allowed her to race the same course/ same location two weekends in a row. The first weekend, Katie had not taken care of her nutrition the way she needed to leading up to the event. This caused her to struggle with everything from the hills, running, and even some of the obstacles she would usually excel on. The second weekend, Katie was able to properly prepare and it was like night and day the experience she had. Her mind was better and she was able to overcome all of the challenges she had struggled with the previous weekend.

Katie Wall


Katie’s parents have been incredibly supportive throughout her journey. Her race buddy Kristi is the one who first inspired her to take the next step in her recovery by signing up for an event. That push gave her hope to start something new and consider going out of her comfort zone. All of the “race friends” she has met along the way have also aided in her success. She also thanks her Spartan boyfriend Luke Walsh, Danielle Rheinhardt (founder of the non-profit Bigger Than The Bully), and others who have continued to be positive influences in her life.

Katie BF


Katie’s current training schedule varies because she likes to change it up. She currently works out about five to six days a week, but takes her rest days VERY seriously :). Her active days vary between OCR Bootcamp classes, long runs, Thai Kickboxing, HIIT, and a mix of cardio kickboxing and bootcamps. Katie is 5’7 and her lowest weight was 105 pounds, her highest weight was 185 pounds, and now she is a healthy 135 pounds.

Katie’s 2016 goals consist of completing five Spartan Race Trifectas, to earn a Spartan Coin to compete in Spartan World Championships, as well as compete in OCRWC (she recently placed 3rd at the Bermuda Triple Challenge which earned her a spot). She is also going back to school for her MBA. Katie has also earned a 2016 sponsorship with Honey Stinger brand.

Katie Transform 2

You can follow Katie on Facebook and Instagram!