Icy baths, electric shocks, vertical climbs and prone crawls… why wouldn’t you want to compete in the Commando Challenge obstacle race? The 13 military style obstacles were interspersed within a 6km run along the beaches, tracks, and jungle of Sentosa Island.
A stinking hot day at 33 degrees celsius, perhaps for the first time I was grateful for the haze that obscured the sun from pelting down on us as we tackled the obstacles on the beach, particularly when we were prone crawling on sand (not pleasant if the sand was hot).
Lacking regular training in recent weeks due to high PSI levels, we certainly weren’t prepared for the run so instead of berating ourselves for our slackness we chose to focus on having fun with the obstacles and walk or jog in-between.
Since pictures say a thousand words, here’s a photographic round-up of our experience:
Obstacle 1: The A-Frame Slide
Hmmm first obstacle and already trying to figure out how I was going to pull myself up on a frame that requires upper body strength and a good dose of triceps. Hubby boosted me up on the first frame and then we found a way to make our way across the sliding part and onto the next A-frame fairly seamlessly. I even managed to give the nearby photographer a big grin.
Obstacle 2: Tyre Power
A collection of tyres spaced closely together ideally tackled by running through it quickly.
Obstacle 3: Barrel Climb
Pretty easy climb across four levels of barrels tied together. Using the yellow ties made it easier to stabilize and pull ourselves over.
Obstacle 4: Vertical Wall
A bit tricky for me. I’m still recovering from an ankle injury during the last obstacle race in March so I can’t run hard nor fly up the vertical wall but the organisers were kind enough to add a horizontal plank and a bunch of rivets that held the wall to the steel frames. That was all I required to get me on top of the wall but needed some help to come down the other end so I wouldn’t land on my sore foot.
On the other hand, John spectacularly hiked himself up the wall and onto the other side like a smooth operator.
Obstacle 5: Curved Ramp
A sprint run-up technique was needed to make it up the 4m curved ramp onto a wide platform. Performed swiftly and easily by John, this was the only obstacle I skipped due to my injured ankle.
Obstacle 6: Larger A-Frame
A singular but much larger A-frame obstacle with a wide platform at the top. This was quite easy as the horizontal planks were spaced in a way that minimised exertion during the climb.
Obstacle 7&8: Over and Under
This was essentially a hurdle jump followed by prone crawl twice over. Some knee abrasions ensued on the rough sand but otherwise not too taxing.
Obstacle 9: Balance Beam
A narrow ramp leading up to a balance beam approximately 1.5m off the ground and 15m in length. Never a fan of heights I was sweating it a little.
Obstacle 10: Ice Bath
Oh my this is a shock to anyone’s system. At least 7m long, waist deep, the ice pool will surely be a forever after moment burnt into my memory. I couldn’t have anticipated the feeling and shock when I ended up submerged into this freezing pool that was somewhere around 4 degrees celsius. The long string of curses that followed were of no surprise to any of the volunteers and perhaps we provided them with some very cheap entertainment.
Wading through the pool, aching for the end, pushing the ice out of my way with my bare hands, I couldn’t even string two thoughts together other than the notion that I wanted out of this pool.
I perhaps got some of my own cheap entertainment when hubby hopped in and had the same reaction followed by his own string of curses.
Perhaps one moment of sanity was when we took our runners off before we entered the pool to try and keep them dry a little longer. Sloshing about in wet runners for another 2kms was just not very appealing.
Obstacle 11: Black Netting Tunnel
Not too sure about the objective of this obstacle. It was somewhat wasted. This could have been lower and created the prone crawl obstacle. That would have felt much more authentic.
Obstacle 12: Icy Spider Web
Another icy submersion except this time it was only calf deep but we had to prone crawl in order to get under the spider web rope above the head. Another shocking experience where I literally slithered out of the inflatable pool. This time John and I entered shoes and all. They’ll be getting a good washing machine wash at home for sure.
Obstacle 13: The Electro-Shock
This has got to be the weirdest, scariest experience. Getting small jolts of electric shocks. As one participant put it “last obstacle was electrifying”. We had some heads up on this obstacle from participants who finished before we started and all we remembered is “just run”. Each time I got electrified, I thought I was going to fall and it sure felt like it would never end. Can’t say I enjoyed this one.
To give a better perspective this next series of photos shows two groups of people holding each other through the obstacle and it just falls apart. Divide and conquer and it worked.
Some running was part of this course but certainly not a highlight just part and parcel of the race. However, we did explore trails and jungle areas that were off the beaten track and quite a lot of beach running as expected.
All in all whilst not an overly difficult race, we had the ice shockers and the electro shocker but we had fun and something we hadn’t done before. It felt like a big kids playground. Would certainly consider coming back next year.