It’s that time of year again! The most wonderful time! That’s right ladies and gentlemen – it’s Tribal Quest Time! Summer means heat, mud and a chance to push your limits yet again. I was lucky enough to be one of the official photographers on the Tribal Quest Team again for the 2014 obstacle race.
I opted for the Mud Crawl this year, because apparently I have a penchant for watching people face plant into things (Polar Bear Plunge – I’m looking at you) This years course seemed more exhausting to participants and I can see why. The mud crawl and pole pit were at the very end of the 5 mile trek and I think that there were some mixed feelings about that! Some people were screaming out “Sweet dear baby pickles WHYYYY would you do this to me!?” and others saw it as a chance to lay down and cool off in the “mud spa” for a bit. Either way, kudos to the organizers – what a great race and fun course to photograph!
I was especially honoured this year to be able to witness Operation Enduring Warrior in action. Please visit http://www.enduringwarrior.org to read about this incredible non-profit and see what else they are up to. Directly from their website – what they are all about: “Operation Enduring Warrior is a veteran operated non-profit whose mission is to Honor, Empower and Motivate our Wounded service members through a physical, mental and emotional rehabilitative cycle modeled for overcoming adversity and hardship through innovation, teamwork and perseverance.”
Incredible and honoured are the two words I use in my mind over and over to describe what it was like witnessing and photographing Matthew White jump from a plane and be greeted by other soldiers, including Franz Walkup. There were soldiers on the OEW team in full gear including gas masks. From talking with people, I believe they symbolize the struggle wounded warriors go through, seeing as how the oxygen wasn’t at 100%. The blacked out gear kept anonymity keeping the focus on the wounded soldiers. If I am wrong in this fact I apologize and I would love to learn more about it! I didn’t see OEW again until they ended up at my station: the Mud Crawl.
The crawl by the end was no easy feat. The sludge only got stickier and heavier with the participants mixing it up throughout the day. It sucked a couple people in pretty deep requiring some runners to stop and help dig and pull people out. I know first hand of course, seeing as how I went too far in at 8 am with no one in sight and had to dig myself – and my shoes out! May all the shoes that were lost in that pit find good homes in the earth!
It was a wonderful day for a race and to see some of the teams going through was touching. One that stood out for me was Strong For Dom. I had to look it up when I got home and their story is very moving. Team Go Hard was out again this year going strong! And the Foranything.com Mudd Dogs made a big splash. The organizers of this event should of course be proud. The race was fantastic, the camaraderie was ever-present and the food and fun was overflowing. Everyone seemed exhausted and accomplished by the end. For full coverage and available purchases by all the photographers involved in Tribal Quest visit HERE.