PAX: Cookie, Whiz, Scar, Sculley, Pinkey, Special K, Devito, El Matador, Flo, Sunshine, Saint 2.0, Pellets, MillerTime, Jackalope, Dosido, Atari, Bayside, FNG Lecter, FNG Tourniquet, Squeeky, W2, Ha-ha
For Q for birthday #58 I was looking for something completely different. A fun challenge that would spark interest in the PAX. I had always been intrigued by the crazy challenges and races you hear about. The Barkley Marathons held each year in late March in Frozenhead State Park in Tennessee qualify as crazy. 5 loops around the state park of a length somewhere between 20-25 miles each with 54,000 feet of elevation climb and a 60 hour cut off time to make 125 miles in the woods it is the very definition of CSAUP. Only 40 people are invited to run it every year and if you have to ask how to apply to enter then you are probably not qualified! I’m not. But I know a bunch of crazy F3 guys that would run an hour mini version of the Barkley. So let’s call it the Widowmaker Barkley 5K and put an hour time limit on it.
No warm up. But we met at 0650 for instructions and teaming. 21 PAX answered the call (plus YHC) so instructions were given:
Each team is given a map with the waypoints and must navigate themselves around the park
First lap is in a clockwise direction around that park
Your team must stay together
At each waypoint find the hidden paperback book and rip out the page that corresponds to your teams “bib” number
Perform the exercise called for with the book at each waypoint before moving on to the next
When all 7 waypoints have been found, pages ripped and exercises performed, return to the flag for a new number and start lap 2 in a counter-clockwise direction
at 0800 time is up and a winner declared
So I had the PAX self identify into 3 groups:
<8:00 minute milers
>8:00 – <9:00 minute milers
That broke the PAX into three groups of 7. So each team got a PAX from each group to make 7 teams. numbers and maps were distributed and at 0700 we were off.
Since each group was on their own for navigation there was some difference on the first waypoint visited. Most went to the waypoint on the far left of the flag. 15 or so guys were scouring the woods looking for a ziplock baggie with a paperback book. Since it was still pretty dark at this time the PAX with headlamps had a distinct advantage. 4 minutes of looking before book one was found and the directions were for 58 merkins. Pages ripped and PAX back out on the trail to waypoint 2.
This waypoint was at the junction of 3 legs of the trail. After a short search the book was found in a culvert running under the trail. 58 curls were directed and the culvert area provided a selection of rocks for the PAX.
The next waypoint took the PAX to the bottom of Widowmaker to the back corner of the park where a bridge goes over the creek. A quick search found the book under the southern bridge abutment and directed that 58 squats were to be performed.
The next 3 waypoints were clustered close together around the lake by the tennis courts and it was dealer’s choice on the order in which to tackle them. YHC ran up and found the MillerTime group that had gone their own way at the start searching the woods next to the pond pump enclosure. They informed me that they had been to this checkpoint twice and the book was gone. Someone had swiped it. YHC stepped off the trail and informed the group that the book was indeed still there and after watching them search up the hill I informed them that I was almost standing on it, my only hint of the day (as you will see in the finishing standing it didn’t give them an advantage!). Directions were for a 58 yard bear crawl which took the PAX through the tunnel under the road kinda like the real Barkley’s tunnel under the prison but without the water and prison.
By this time I could see PAX at the waypoint by the tennis courts and at the back loop trail where a book was waiting by logs and 58 single count Bonnie Blairs were called for.
I ran up to the tennis courts and saw PAX doing 58 dips which meant that someone had found the book and the directions there behind the restroom building.
At this point the lead groups were on to the last waypoint which had a book hidden at the iconic bridge we all driver under when we enter the park. That book directed the PAX to do 58 incline merkins on the steps coming up from the road.
I was at the flag waiting to check in the groups as they finished lap 1:
Pellet’s group came in at 0745 +4 waypoints on the second lap
Sculley’s group at 0745:30 +4 waypoints on the second lap
Atari’s group at 0746 +4 waypoints on the second lap
Bayside’s group at 0747
El Matador’s group at 0753
Devito’s group at 0754
Millertime’s group at 0755
I had no idea how long this would take but was sure no one would finish 5 laps! Check.
The first 3 groups went back out to see how far they could get before 0800 to take the prize (copious amounts of adulation from the gathered PAX)
The rest of the group circled up for Mary while the last of the groups came back in.
Welcome FNG’s Tourniquet and Lecter who were EHed by Augusta F3 PAX Squeeky now relocated to Lawrenceville who is looking to start F3 in Lawrenceville. Stay tuned for launch date!
Prayers for jobs and healing.
Thanks for traveling with me for trip around the sun number 58! It is a pleasure to do life with you guys. I am a stronger and a better person because of all of you!