Esprit de corps buoys USAMRICD team through Savage Race

USAMRICD's team was muddied but triumphant after completing the Savage Race: in the back row, left to right, are Maj. Matthew Wegner, Col. Bruce Schoneboom, Sgt. Marco Acevedo, Lt. Col. Greg Saturday and James Swails; in the front from the left, Ken Barton, Sofia Elgarresta, and Sgt. Alicia Swails. (Photo courtesy of Mac Stone, provided by Savage Race)

Is there a better way to spend a day than to race through an extreme obstacle course and finish exhausted and covered in mud? You may be thinking that there is, but for Lt. Col. Greg Saturday and seven other volunteers on the team from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Savage Race was a challenge worth undertaking.

Produced by Mad Cap Events, Savage Race is held at various locations around the country, and according to their website, "The high you will feel from experiencing a Savage Race event is something that you won't soon forget." USAMRICD's team, mudRICD, participated in the event held at Hopkins Game Farm, Kennedyville, Md., on July 20. Other team members were Col. Bruce Schoneboom, USAMRICD commander, his friend Ken Barton, a retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps captain, Maj. Matthew Wegner, Sgt. Marco Acevedo, Sgt. Alicia Swails, her husband, James Swails, and Sofia Elgarresta.

"I put together a team of volunteers that wanted to participate in an esprit de corps physical team building event," said Saturday, a veterinary pathologist and chief of the institute's Comparative Pathology Branch.

"We had 25 obstacles to overcome," continued Saturday. "We started together and we finished together."

The race claims to have "more obstacles per mile" than any other race, all constructed in a four- to six-mile course. Obstacles, most of which have humorous, tongue-in-check names, can vary by race location, but for the event on July 20, they included low crawling in mud, jumping over fire, carrying wood planks, dangling electrically charged wires, jumping off a platform into water and climbing over walls mud, fire, and barbed wire.

"It's all fun and games," said Wegner, "until you get shocked in the 'Tazed' obstacle."

Individual participants in the competitive wave of the race are rewarded for finishing overall in first place as well as for finishing first in their age divisions.

Teams don't compete for prizes, and for mudRICD, Saturday said, "the objective was to work as a team and to finish the race together." Mission accomplished.

"Teamwork literally pushed, pulled, lifted and motivated me to cross that finish line with everyone," said Elgarresta, who is looking forward to her next Savage Race. "Thanks, fellow mudRICD'ers!"

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Last Modified Date: 30-Jul-2013