I’ve never considered myself to be, an “athlete.” I don’t have a true competitive bone in my body, winning is awesome, but losing isn’t the end of the world to me. Although I’m not competitive, I do have a major stubborn streak, if you tell me I can’t do something, or even seems to suggest I cant, or even shouldn’t… well, that seems to bring out the ‘oh, yeah? Just watch me!’ side of me.

In 2013, my husband signed up for an obstacle course race with co-workers and signed up my oldest daughter to run, as well.  I hadn’t really been interested in that type of thing before, so I was curious… if curious means I was a little put off that I wasn’t asked to join! My daughter ended up having a conflict, so I thought, well, maybe I could take her place, but I didn’t feel all that encouraged by my husband’s response. Not his fault, of course, he knows me pretty well – and, honestly, he worries about me. At that point, my thoughts were, however erroneous, that he didn’t think I could do it.  I rather stubbornly insisted I was going in her place!

We showed up, posed for pictures, and got moving. Granted, most of my group got ahead of me, but I just had one goal that day… to finish.  I remember getting to one of the first obstacles – a large wall with some rock-climbing steps on it, and pulling up short to figure out how I was going to approach my attempt.  People offered help and encouraging words – not what I expected.  I made the climb by myself, but when I reached the top, I couldn’t quite figure out how to get over to the other side.  The guy beside me told me to hang on – then he straddled the wall and offered me a hand up.  It was like that throughout the entire day, the whole course.  There turned out to be some obstacles that I just couldn’t do – the rope climb; a few obstacles that I completed by myself without any help – navigating the bogs and twists of the CTG Little Rock course; and more than a few that I couldn’t have done without the help of so many of my fellow racers.  Needless to say, that day, that race, that experience got me hooked.

Turns out, that race was Conquer the Gauntlet.  I’ve done other races since then – Tough Mudder™, Spartan Race™ (Sprints, a Super, and a Beast – becoming part of the Trifecta Tribe), a Warrior Dash™, and other local races, and I can say without reservation that CTG is the most challenging and rewarding race I’ve participated in.  I think it’s the spirit of CTG that has really made the biggest impact on me. I love the feeling of beating an obstacle I haven’t beaten before, of running a little further than I did the last time, and of helping others keep going during a race when I see them a little discouraged.  Come race with us in 2016! Join the #ctgfamily.

Benjamin DeBell