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Iron man challenge tests endurance, strength, teamwork

By Cpl. Jacob D. Osborne | | October 3, 2012

The Prince George?s County Police Department?s Special Operations Division hosted its third annual Iron Man Endurance Competition at T. Howard Duckett Park, Sept. 26, and several military teams once again joined in the challenge.

?The purpose of the competition was to have the local agencies come together and build camaraderie, as well as show the community how hard the men and women protecting them are willing to push themselves,? said Cpl. Bud Bergstrom, a member of the emergency services team for Prince George?s County Police Department, Special Operations Division, and a coordinator for the competition.

Police and fire departments, military members and federal government agencies from Prince George?s County and surrounding areas participated, many training all year for this event, said Bergstrom.

Each agency could field as many teams as it wanted, but the teams were limited to four members. Three Marine teams participated. The Air Force and the National Guard also fielded teams.

Teams traversed various stations that tested everyone?s endurance.? Many stations focused on team unity to accomplish the task.

?People figure out what their weakness are, and it gives them the realization that you can?t do everything by yourself,? said Cpl. Norman Webster, a member of the emergency services team for Prince George?s County Police Department, Special Operations Division, and a Marine veteran.

Competitors dragged large chains weighing about 200 pounds for 25 yards, flipped a 1,000-pound tire ten times and maneuvered through monkey bars, all while wearing an Avon Protection FM53 Gas Mask.

?The sweat-soaked competitors ran a half-mile to a riverbank for 25 individual sit-ups, 100 team sit-ups and then team pushups before heading to the water.

?The teams then paddled a zodiac raft through a half-mile course. Once out of the water, teams had to carry the boat up a hill and back to the water before setting off on a 3.2 mile run through the woods.

?By now, most teams were exhausted, but the competition was far from over. The next six stations further tested endurance.
?Each individual of a team had to flip a 240-pound log for a specified distance. Many competitors called this the most difficult task because of the awkward distribution of the log?s weight.

?Next in the lineup of Herculean tasks was the clean-and-press. Competitors lifted a bar with a cement block on each end above their head 20 times before moving on in the competition.

Then came the 55-gallon barrel roll. While one teammate rolled the water-filled barrel, the remaining three took advantage of the short break to catch their breath before it was their turn.

Then each team member pulled a rope tied to two tires for 25 yards.

After the tire pull, competitors low-crawled under chain link fence while pushing or pulling a concrete cylinder. As one team member low crawled, the others struggled to catch their breath before it was their turn.

The next station was an individual tire flip where each competitor flipped a 250-pound tire five times out and five times back.

Finally, the team sprinted 100-yards to the finish line.

The competition was timed, and the times determined each team?s standing. Most teams didn?t take a single break, showing the endurance and strength of the men and women protecting the country at home and overseas, said Bergstrom.

Competition completed, Lance Cpl. Jared Buchanan, from Marine Barracks Washington, gasped for breath as he commented, ?That was so much harder than running a marathon.?

A team from Montgomery County Emergency Services snagged bragging rights as the winner of this endurance challenge with a time of one hour, 21 minutes and 51 seconds; a second team from the county also took third with one hour, 32 minutes and 40 seconds.

Baltimore Emergency Services took second with a time of one hour, 28 minutes and 20 seconds.

A Marine team based in Washington took fourth with1 hour, 36 minutes and 26 seconds. They fielded a second team that placed ninth with one hour, 38 minutes and 50 seconds. Buchanan?s team from Marine Barracks Washington placed 21st with one hour, 52 minutes and 50 seconds.