Events

February 21, 2014

Spartan Race makes Soldiers stronger

From left, Staff Sgt. Matthew Godin, Sgt. Lita Balderas and Spc. Eduardo Garza during the Spartan Race.

A group of Soldiers from U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, NETCOM, participated in a grueling obstacle course on Feb. 9, at the Fort McDowell Rodeo Grounds at Fort McDowell, four hours north of Fort Huachuca.

The team, calling themselves the Honey Badgers, came together to participate in an obstacle racing challenge known as the Spartan Race.

The course consisted of a five-kilometer running trail through steep inclines and declines, with multiple stops along the way to complete extreme obstacles based on Cross Fit-style exercises.

The Soldiers performed low crawls under barbed wire, pulled cinder blocks attached to chains up and down hills, and jumped over fire only to be met on the other side by race personnel wielding pugil sticks.

According to Spartan Race officials, this stop on the Spartan Race tour consisted of a grueling 3-plus mile trail through Arizona desert with 15 obstacles to challenge the racers. These were designed to test the teams’ resilience, strength, stamina, quick decision-making skills and ability to laugh in the face of adversity.

Sgt. 1st Class Doris Contreras and her husband, Capt. Sergio Contreras Jr., clear the fire obstacle as part of the Spartan Race course.

“Often, even when we are on a team, ‘I’ comes out with the competitiveness of the individuals,” said 1st Sgt. Sophia Hart. “We all started and finished every obstacle together and lent a hand when we [saw] someone needed it. I was genuinely impressed with not only the camaraderie, but also the teamwork displayed by every Soldier, to ensure that we not only started together, but finished Army Strong.”

The Honey Badgers’ team captain, Staff Sgt. Matthew Godin, thought the race would be an ideal way for NETCOM Soldiers to show what they are made of.

“The Spartan Race seemed like a great opportunity to come together as Soldiers,” Godin said. “We accomplished a tough physical goal outside our normal realm of operations, and did it together as a team. That’s what being a Soldier is all about.”

“My husband [Capt. Sergio Contreras Jr.] and I decided to run the course together because it was an opportunity to do something fun and challenging without deployment being a factor,” said Sgt. 1st Class Doris Contreras. “It was also an opportunity to do some team building with the individuals in my office and get to know people outside of my office.”

The Contreras not only completed the course with the team, but they completed the challenges side-by-side.

1st Sgt. Sophia Hart throws a spear during a challenge which was part of the Spartan Race Feb. 9 on Fort McDowell.

In the end, the mud-covered NETCOM team finished the obstacle course in just over two hours, receiving medals and taking away a greater sense of pride and accomplishment in themselves and their fellow Soldiers.

“The race was painful but fun,” Sgt. 1st Class Rene Ozuna said. “It was a great accomplishment to cross that finish line!”




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