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Bone tough

SEAL-style obstacle course  a sprawling, difficult hit

  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>The Truss Monkey Bars proved difficult for some at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort on Saturday. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

    Recorder/Beth Reynolds
    The Truss Monkey Bars proved difficult for some at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort on Saturday. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/> Many athletes wore video cameras to record their adventure at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. Here a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle 6 of 36. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

    Recorder/Beth Reynolds
    Many athletes wore video cameras to record their adventure at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. Here a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle 6 of 36. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>Not many contestants were able to make it to the top and ring the bell at the rope climb obstacle at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. Here a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle 6 of 36. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

    Recorder/Beth Reynolds
    Not many contestants were able to make it to the top and ring the bell at the rope climb obstacle at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. Here a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle 6 of 36. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>The spirit of teamwork was present all over the course at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort on Saturday. Here, a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle six of 36.

    Recorder/Beth Reynolds
    The spirit of teamwork was present all over the course at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort on Saturday. Here, a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle six of 36.

  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>Beatriz Gonzalez of Chicopee, left, and Heather Viveiros of Newton chose to cross the finish line together holding hands. Heather actually had the faster time on the course. The women helped each other through the course.

    Recorder/Beth Reynolds
    Beatriz Gonzalez of Chicopee, left, and Heather Viveiros of Newton chose to cross the finish line together holding hands. Heather actually had the faster time on the course. The women helped each other through the course.

  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>The last of 36 obstacles before the finish is a jump over a fire pit at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

    Recorder/Beth Reynolds
    The last of 36 obstacles before the finish is a jump over a fire pit at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>The Truss Monkey Bars proved difficult for some at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort on Saturday. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.
  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/> Many athletes wore video cameras to record their adventure at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. Here a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle 6 of 36. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.
  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>Not many contestants were able to make it to the top and ring the bell at the rope climb obstacle at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. Here a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle 6 of 36. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.
  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>The spirit of teamwork was present all over the course at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort on Saturday. Here, a contestant gets a hand up the slippery bank at obstacle six of 36.
  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>Beatriz Gonzalez of Chicopee, left, and Heather Viveiros of Newton chose to cross the finish line together holding hands. Heather actually had the faster time on the course. The women helped each other through the course.
  • Recorder/Beth Reynolds<br/>The last of 36 obstacles before the finish is a jump over a fire pit at The Bone Frog New England/Tri-State Challenge held at Berkshire East Ski Resort. The Bone Frog Challenge was created by Navy SEALs to challenge build and inspire participants to become better athletes. It is 36 military-style obstacles on a 9-mile course in, through and over water, mud, sand and fire.

CHARLEMONT — Navy SEALS complete a gruelling obstacle course in order to become members of the elite special forces unit.

On Saturday, several hundred runners completed a SEAL-style obstacle course just for fun, and maybe bragging rights.

More than 400 raced Saturday in the first Bone Frog Challenge, held at Berkshire East Ski Area. Organizer and ex-SEAL Brian Carney of Deerfield thought the race went well.

“I was holding my breath, waiting to see what people think of the race,” said Carney.

He’s breathing easier now.

“People have been loving the course,” he said. “One person told me they’d done the Tough Mudder race and loved this one. He said we had much harder obstacles and challenges.”

The weekend warriors trudged through mud, scaled walls, crawled under barbed wire, crossed pools on monkey bars, climbed ropes and much more in the 36-obstacle, 9-mile race.

Its difficulty was apparent in the racers as they neared the finish. The faces of many portrayed anguish as they limped on hurt legs or nursed side cramps and pulled muscles, a look that turned to tired relief after they crossed the finish.

“This has got to be one of the toughest obstacle courses ever,” said Beatriz Gonzalez of Chicopee. “They did an amazing job. I can’t wait until next year’s race.”

Gonzalez was the first woman to cross the finish line Saturday, her face flecked with mud after tackling the course in 2 hours, 38 minutes. Though she’s a veteran of this type of challenge, it was a first for a new friend of hers.

Gonzalez, 42, and Heather Vivieros, 33, had never met before they crossed paths during the race. They formed a fast friendship, each helping the other out with tough obstacles. With staggered starting times, they began the course separately, but they crossed the finish line with their hands clasped in solidarity.

“I’d wanted to do the Tough Mudder race, but couldn’t, because I had bursitis of the knee,” said Vivieros, who lives in Newton. Now, she’s signed up for two upcoming obstacle races.

She may have a good chance at either of them. Viviero s crossed the finish line with a time of 2:26. As of Saturday afternoon, she was in second place in the women’s class, though there were still a few waves to go in the staggered-start race.

They were followed by Nele Schulze, 27, of Melrose, who has done several obstacle races. Her time was 2:40.

“It was hard, but good,” she said. “I hadn’t trained, and I noticed it.”

After his friends kept canceling plans to run in similar races, Orange’s Jamie Arsenault decided to go it alone Saturday.

“I had been training, so I said I’d do it whether or not I could get a team together,” said Arsenault as he trekked from obstacle to obstacle. “I don’t really run. I do some charity 5k’s, but they’re all road races, nothing extreme.”

Though the course’s challenges were foreign to Arsenault and Vivieres, they were familiar to some.

“I think it’s awesome that Brian put the SEAL experience into the race,” said Dom Raso of Virginia.

Though he’d never run an obstacle race before Saturday, he’d come in contact with some of the course’s features during his military training.

“I served with Brian on SEAL Team Two,” he said. Raso and four Navy friends came from Virginia to race as Team Dynamis and support their friend.

Most branches of the military were represented Saturday. Many active and former members of the service came out to run or watch.

There were plenty of civilian spectators, too.

“It’s great to see this put on by a U.S. Navy SEAL,” said Ashli Stempel of Greenfield. “I’ve done the Tough Mudder race; that one was designed by a member of the British special forces.”

One man, perhaps unfamiliar with what the SEALS do, wasn’t prepared for one aspect of the race.

“One guy jumped into the pond and didn’t realize he couldn’t swim until he hit the water,” said Charlemont Police Sgt. Jared Bellows, his cruiser parked near the over-the-water cargo-net climb.

“The lifeguards had to jump in and fish him out. He was a big guy, too.”

The race was well-staffed with medical personnel and volunteers standing by each obstacle, just in case.

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation, the 31 Heroes Project and One Team One Fight charities, which help the families of those killed or injured in action.

Carney plans to hold his second Bone Frog Challenge next spring in Georgia. For more, go to:

www.bonefrogchallenge.com.

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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