Castle Rock, CO, will be home on Aug. 4 and 5 to America’s inaugural Thunder Challenge http://thunderchallenge.us/, an endurance contest expected to draw upwards of 1,000 endurance competitors who will tackle the first-ever obstacle racing course created, led and produced by Navy SEALs and US Special Forces military.
The Colorado event is the first in a three-event series scheduled in 2012 in the US. The other two are Oct. 6 and 7 in Pittsburgh and Dec. 8 and 9 in Southern California (locationTBA). A 2013 schedule will be announced shortly.
The Thunder Challenge series is the latest when it comes to endurance contests that pit ages 18 and up against adverse conditions – and against themselves. However Thunder Challenge stands alone as providing the first and to date only Special Operations-style course that tests the physical and mental strength of elite and amateur athletes against U.S. Special Forces and Navy SEAL training and challenges.
“Much like the current hit movie Act of Valorwhich was the first feature-length Hollywood production where all the principals were active-duty SEALs, we have created the first endurance event solely planned, produced and manned by Navy SEALs and US Special Forces soldiers,” explains Rusty Schellman, CEO and co-founder.
This race series under the auspices of Thunder Productions, a company out of Superior, CO, is generous in opportunities for athletes to test their mettle while at the same time it is dedicated to donating a portion of the proceeds of each race to Project Sanctuary. This non-profit organization serves veterans and their families who are trying to reconnect and reintegrate into their communities. Future plans also call for the hiring wounded warriors into key positions as Thunder Challenge expands.
Navy SEALs and U.S. Special Forces soldiers (including from the legendary SEAL Team that conducted the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound) produce and monitor the events. After a day of competing on one of the most physically and emotionally demanding courses in the world, adventure athletes have the satisfaction of knowing that they have completed one day of elite military training.
Thunder Challenge Course / Event
Each race supervised by a crew of elite active military and veterans covers a distance of approximately 10K incorporating local terrain, with 20 to 25 unique obstacle challenges spread across variable conditions. While the course layout is a closely held secret, the Thunder Challenge Facebook page reveals that obstacle racers can expect climbs, mud pits and even cold water tests of endurance.
Competitors tackle the course in multiple waves pre-scheduled over a two-day period. Although the events are not officially timed, typical finish times may range from a top time of one hour to an average time of two hours. Racers can enter as individuals or as teams of any size. Team building strategies are incorporated into the event. To register, go online to: http://thunderchallenge.us/
Designed with a festival atmosphere, competitors, friends and families are invited to partake in pre and post race activities that include live music, food and beverages stands, arts and crafts, family fun and more. There’s even a Little Warriors obstacle course for ages 6-12.
The Colorado event runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 4 and 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Aug. 5. The course will be established at the location formerly occupied by the Colorado Renaissance Festival outside of Larkspur, CO (Exit 172 when approaching north from Colorado Springs and Exit 173 when driving south from Denver).
A portion of all Thunder Challenge proceeds will be donated to Project Sanctuary, a Colorado 501(c) 3 where military families can reconnect. Their Recreational Therapy and supportive environment offer a constructive and unique way for our nation’s heroes to reconnect with loved ones and readjust to life at home. Project Sanctuary retreats help put families on the path to healthy, happy home lives, but that is just the first step in a long and difficult journey. Every family is continually offered support, healing and guidance for at least two years. Please see http://projectsanctuary.us/
Thunder Challenge Producers
The Thunder Challenge is produced by Thunder Productions founded by Rusty Schellman (CEO), a former US Army Blackhawk combat helicopter pilot who did two tours of Korea and served in Desert Storm & Shield. Three former Navy SEALs are partners: Brett Morganti, Jason Elliott and Dustin Berdahl. Morganti, spent eight years as a US Navy SEAL and earned both the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service. Elliott and Berdahl have 16 years combined Navy SEAL experience.