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NEWS | Nov. 7, 2015

Reserved for a challenge

By Sgt. Aaron Ellerman 204th Public Affairs Detachment

PALM BAY, Fla. — One … Two … Two …“Do them correctly and they will start counting! All the way up, all the way down!” barked Sgt. 1st Class Russ Hansen, Echo Company, 485th Infantry Regiment, 98th Training Division.

Hansen and his fellow drill sergeants voices pierced through the cloud of music and clamor emitting from the more than 8,000 participants and guests attending day one of the 2015 Tough Mudder at Palm Bay, Florida, Nov. 7.
“The Army Reserve wanted to get drill sergeants out here to give the participants of the Army Reserve Fitness Challenge a taste of what it’s like to be in a training environment,” said Hansen.
Drill sergeant’s motivated and critiqued participants taking on the Army Reserve Fitness Challenge. They ensured the competitors got a feel of how it’s like working under stress and urgency by yelling commands and creating a stressful environment while ensuring the competitors navigated the course using proper Army technique. The timed challenge was comprised of five Army-themed exercises in which volunteers competed for prizes and spots on the daily leaderboard.
“The opportunity to be out here motivating these people is great, and I’m glad we can give the public a taste of what we are about,” said Hansen.

Despite already starting as a difficult undertaking, the course changed throughout the day morphing with the climate and terrain exemplifying the constant change Soldiers are faced with on the battlefield.
“Pushing the sled through the mulched up terrain was difficult, especially after the rain when it got stuck in the ruts from prior competitors,” said Socrates Christoforu, a Fort Lauderdale native and Marine veteran.
Christoforu, an avid obstacle race runner, admitted that even for a Marine it was a tough challenge, particularly when coupled with the Tough Mudder.
The challenge is an integral part of the Tough Mudder event, providing an opportunity for people to interact with Soldiers and experience some of what the Army Reserve is about.
“It is good to see a military presence out here interacting with the community,” said Christoru.
The Tough Mudder prides itself on being a group event encouraging teamwork and having obstacles that require a team effort to complete. The competitors carried this idea to the Army Reserve Fitness Challenge. Even though the challenge was an individual event, friends and fellow participants cheered each other on urging the competitors not to quit.