Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The real Death Race

[Editor's note: Remember Death Race, that remake of Death Race 2000 with Jason Statham? Me neither. Here, Chris Fusco chronicles the adventures of a food industry professional who tries his hand at something a bit different: defying the Grim Reaper in a real death race.]

When asking any restaurant employee about what they do in their free time, the typical answers usually involve sports, going to the bar, and the occasional recreational drug habit. However, one of my co-workers has chosen a slightly different path: to push himself to insane extremes to test his physical limits. Apollo's Cred has been asked to follow Jonathan Latayan and his second attempt at the Toughguy race that takes place in Wolverhampton, England. So, for the next few months, I will follow Jon as he trains to prepare himself for this feat of lunacy.

More after the jump.

A few weeks ago, Jon started his official training for the race. After he showed me the "Death Waiver" he had to sign, I realized this event meant business. Jon kept a journal throughout his training for his first attempt at the Toughguy race, which tells the story of a rigorous marathon that few dare to attempt and even fewer complete. Jon was a lucky one: he only sustained a few pulled muscles, including a quad and both hamstrings, and finished in 228th place.

That was summertime, when the water isn't quite as bone numbingly cold and the race course is much more manageable.

This race is not only a test of physical endurance but mental endurance. Competitors slide down muddy hills into freezing cold water, make their way through through electrified wires, and climb up and down wooden obstacles, cargo nets, concrete walls, fire pits, and mud. The race also involves running through multiple smoke bombs, shot from 18th century cannons, running up and down nettle-infested fields, through pits full of animal dung and "puddles" eight feet deep.

After watching some videos of the race, I have come to the conclusion that this is not only race for the fittest but also to most lunatic. People are out in the freezing cold weather, getting torn apart physically by obstacles, some while wearing almost nothing at all. Jon, as I know, is very extreme when in comes to everything, and very physically fit, riding his bike from Queens to work almost every day. While most participants' goals are to just finish the race in one piece, Jon's goal is to finish the race in under two hours, which he thinks is attainable. We'll see.

No comments: