The Camp Every Kid Needs - CAMP SPARTAN
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2015 Winter Death Race Report

This was a Winter Death Race for the ages. While over 100 had registered, a blast of savage weather kept all but the hardiest at home with only 30 actually showing up to toe the start line.


The race began Friday evening, immediately following the 9pm pre-race meeting. Most competitors had arrived prepared for this likelihood, but one rookie showed up in sweat pants and tennis shoes and had to endure the first several hours of -30℉ drastically underdressed before his parents could fetch the rest of his gear. The first order of business, after 50 fully loaded burpees, was to drag enormous logs up the mountain, breaking new trail in the deep snow the whole way. Working in three teams, they took a few hours to make the first trip and were rewarded with a second one – this time carrying buckets full of logs as well.


Upon arriving at the summit, racers were released to sprint to the bottom and begin racing in earnest. This continued full-tilt until Sunday morning, with the racers enduring multiple trips to the summit, carrying various loads, building a mountainside cabin, and standing, barefoot on a cold floor, blindfolded and earmuffed while required to count off one hour in their head with a penalty for time over or under. Sunday morning, as the state closed the highways due to severe freezing rain, racers were regrouped and brought upstairs in the barn for a surprise dance lesson from a 9 yr old neighbor. For hours they were tortured with “Uptown Funk” and accompanying choreography.


After repeatedly failing their group recital, with penalties including 50 times rolling down a snowy hill, they were finally allowed to advance. Next they worked together to stack a neighbor’s wood and clear ice from her driveway, then hiked over the mountain and waded through the river to chip out a frozen pile of stones at the General Store and fill the excavated foundation. Just before dark, all remaining racers (about half had dropped by now) used their ropes to make themselves Swiss Seats and then all clipped to a 100′ rope before striding together into the frigid river to walk the mile and a half upstream to Riverside. There they were made to sit armpits deep in the rushing water for a ten minute preview of what was to come. Chilled to the bone, the racers were then given only a few minutes to get changed and be upstairs for a closing meeting.


They battled for space in the basement but all managed to make it upstairs in time. They were congratulated on finishing the prescribed tasks, but told that they still had their penalties to complete. Based on a formula that included their score on a quiz, their proficiency carrying buckets of water, how many times they’d made it up the mountain Saturday night and how close they were to the hour of forced meditation, each racer was assigned up to one hour submersion in the river, up to 4,235 burpees and several trips up and down the mountain. Working well into Monday morning, now in a significant snowstorm, only 9 racers were able to complete their penalties before the 6am cut off. Drew Jett led the way, with the rest joining him one at a time in the cabin atop Joe’s mountain. Shortly after 7am, approximately 58 hours after the start, the nine skulls were presented as the sun rose.


submitted by Johnny Waite