A small tactical outfit of eight set out on the cold, early morning of November 8th, with more than 110 miles to travel in the next 30 hours. Naval Special Warfare personnel, including Special Operators, support personnel and retired SEALs took off into the Southern California high desert. They signed up for this, they trained for this, but were they actually ready for this?
This team assembled in Warner Springs, Calif. to run a relay footrace. Named for the Viking conqueror Ragnar, this race challenges competitors to push their individual limits and to accomplish this feat together as a team. The starting line is at 4,400 feet above sea level, and changes more than 2,300 in elevation throughout the course. Each runner was responsible for completing nearly 15 miles in three different legs, in the heat of the midday sun, around the clock and throughout the dark, cold night.
“Most people hear about these races, but have no idea how fun it is,” said Chief Petty Officer Monica Neri, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Command. “It was fun but it was also very challenging because we all trained at sea level. Trying to run up mountain takes a huge toll to your calves, mine were on fire!”
Despite their preparations prior to the race, the racers still felt the toll of pushing their bodies to the limits.
“The challenge is a lot of fun and going through this painful experience with a group of people will be something I never forget,” Neri said.
Retired Chief Special Operator Glen Davis described this event to what he calls a “kedge,” a small anchor used to pull old sailing ships out of their comfortable berth into the channel.
“Signing up for events like this are like dropping a kedge and pulling your lazy self up off of the couch to train and prepare,” Davis said. “It is critical that team members understand that it is going to suck and that is the joy of it.”
“Our greatest memories come from the hardest things we do,” said Davis. “That time the throttle cable broke and the transit in freezing rain took eight hours instead of two, or the time the wind caught our tent in Alaska and we all watched it blow hundreds of yards up and over the side of the mountain. Most people avoid these types of pain or have never experienced them. The (SEAL) teams make you realize the real value of ‘suck’.”
Every member of this team successfully completed their 14 mile race segments. The team finished the race 7th in their mixed category, with a total time of 29 hours and 24 minutes.
Naval Special Warfare Command’s mission is to provide maritime special operations forces to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, to support national objectives. NSW’s greatest competitive advantage is it’s people, and it provides the nation’s premiere maritime special operators and combat support personnel in support of U.S. Special Operations Command’s global mission.
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