One hundred to 150 commandos of all ages and sizes stormed the Frisco peninsula Saturday to take part in the first — annual, organizers hope — Commando eXtreme Mudd Race.
Muddied competitors splashed though a pool and under the final obstacle with smiles on their faces as they crossed the finish line of the 4-mile military-style obstacle course.
“It was so much fun, I’m doing it again next year,” said Zach Christopher, 17, of Chicago, shortly after crossing the line.
His family, who owns a vacation home in Eagle, learned about the event last-minute. “I saw it in the newspaper and it looked awesome.”
The young competitor chose to forego the teamwork aspect of the race and left his dad behind somewhere on the course.
For many others it was a team event, which organizers said comes from the military influence.
Dressed in black, a team of coworkers from Colorado Springs-based High Plains Tactical And Consulting LLC (HPTAC), charged the course’s final obstacles with military-like precision. One of the team’s several members held up a mesh army tarp strung over a mud pit as the rest of his team splashed through underneath, then up and over a cargo-net climbing obstacle.
“It’s teamwork all the way through,” said Jon Pedrick, from the HPTAC team, after crossing the finish.
His teammate, Michael Lowe, a former Army Ranger, commended organizers on the realistic nature of the training course.
“The obstacles are on par with any of the top military courses I’ve run before,” he said. The distances between obstacles were longer than on a traditional course, however, which he said made it more challenging — along with the altitude.
“We try to be authentic,” said Brett Mooganti, one of the event’s managers. “We build it. We organize it; we do everything. And we run it the day prior.”
That authenticity comes from the event’s founders, all of whom are former Navy SEALS. Proceeds from the race benefit a number of veterans charities.
Competitors in the event ranged from former triathletes and military members to mother-and-son teams.
While the first group to start was a competitive heat, most of the participants were just in it for fun.
“You get a group together, it’s just fun,” said Barb Tilkan, 50. She and her son Drew, 24, decided to participate a week before the event.
“She almost beat me,” Drew said of his mother.
But she couldn’t have done it without his help. “I made him lift me up (on larger obstacles) to do it.”
Barb said she repeatedly passed by a sign advertising the Commando eXtreme race on her way to work, and finally decided to enter. She and her son had both previously competed in the Warrior Dash, a nationwide obstacle-course racing series that comes to Copper Mountain Resort Aug. 17.
Drew appreciated the smaller scale of the Commando eXtreme compared to the Warrior Dash, which attracts thousands of competitors.
“I like the lack of crowds,” he said.
Event director Jason Elliot hopes the Commando eXtreme race will grow in the future.
“The hardest part is getting the word out,” he said.
With every competitor crossing the finish line with a smile on his or her face, and a number of competitors saying “That was awesome” or “I loved it” to no one in particular, the team of former SEALs might be onto something.