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Citizen Airmen conquer Savage Race

Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, attempts to climb the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, attempts to climb the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, slides down a wall after a failed attempt at climbing the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, slides down a wall after a failed attempt at climbing the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants wait in line to climb the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants wait in line to climb the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Tech. Sgt. Randy Estrella, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainer, races down a muddy hill during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Tech. Sgt. Randy Estrella, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainer, races down a muddy hill during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Jones’ daughter Erica grab blocks of wood to carry during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Jones’ daughter Erica grab blocks of wood to carry during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, carries a block of wood during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, carries a block of wood during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, carries a block of wood during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, carries a block of wood during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants help other racers make it to the top of the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants help other racers make it to the top of the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants climb a wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants climb a wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Erica Jones, daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, pulls a masonry brick up a hill during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Erica Jones, daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, pulls a masonry brick up a hill during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Members of Dobbins Air Reserve Base help 1st Lt. Banner Zimmerman, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron nurse, make it to the top of the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Members of Dobbins Air Reserve Base help 1st Lt. Banner Zimmerman, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron nurse, make it to the top of the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Members of Dobbins Air Reserve Base slide into a pool of water after making it to the top of the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Members of Dobbins Air Reserve Base slide into a pool of water after making it to the top of the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, carries a masonry brick down a hill during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, carries a masonry brick down a hill during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Jordan Jones, son of Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, shimmies across bars over a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Jordan Jones, son of Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, shimmies across bars over a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Tech. Sgt. Randy Estrella, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainer, shimmies across bars over a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Tech. Sgt. Randy Estrella, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainer, shimmies across bars over a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants shimmy across bars over a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Savage Race participants shimmy across bars over a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, assists 1st Lt. Banner Zimmerman, 94th ASTS nurse, in climbing a wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, assists 1st Lt. Banner Zimmerman, 94th ASTS nurse, in climbing a wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, assists 1st Lt. Banner Zimmerman, 94th ASTS nurse, in climbing a wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, assists 1st Lt. Banner Zimmerman, 94th ASTS nurse, in climbing a wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Erica Jones, daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, climbs out of a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Erica Jones, daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, climbs out of a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants climb a rope wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Savage Race participants climb a rope wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Savage Race participants climb the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Savage Race participants climb the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Colossus was a giant 43-foot wall and one of the hardest obstacles in the course. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sledged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Tech. Sgt. Vicki Brown, 94th Airlift Wing Command Post, wades through a muddy pool of ice water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)
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Tech. Sgt. Vicki Brown, 94th Airlift Wing Command Post, wades through a muddy pool of ice water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

DALLAS, Ga. --

Blue-smoke filled the air near the starting line as music pounded out heavy bass beats echoing throughout the muddy field. A man with a megaphone shouted out for dance challengers in the center of a crowd jumping up and down. The clock ticked down to the start of the next leg of the 25-obstacle, 5-mile course of the Air Force Reserve-sponsored Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race.

Finally, a shot went off as the racers slid through the muck to meet their first trial.

Tech. Sgt. Randy Estrella, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainer, races down a muddy hill during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

“I had never done a Savage Race before and was looking for a challenge,” said Banner Zimmerman, an Air Force Reservist from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. “I want to do more in the future, and this was going to be my base line to let me know where I needed more work.”

Zimmerman ran the course with a team from Dobbins ARB. Landon Faber, also a Reservist from Dobbins ARB, decided to take on the challenge himself.

Savage Races occur in eight different states with a total of 12 races per year spread out between them. This race was held in Dallas, Georgia.

“This was my third Savage Race,” Faber said. “I started doing these with my roommate. We got a team together and I’ve been doing these since. This was my first time doing this by myself.”

The choice of running as an individual or a team provided unique benefits and challenges.

“It was a lot harder running by myself,” Faber said. “I didn’t get as much of a break between obstacles. I only had a moment to prepare myself for them.”

Running as a unit helped with some of the obstacles that required team work and provided extra motivation.

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, assists 1st Lt. Banner Zimmerman, 94th ASTS nurse, in climbing a wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

“There were several times where the team kept me going when I wanted to quit or not do an obstacle,” Zimmerman explained. “The Sawtooth [monkey bars that zigged and zagged up and down] was daunting for me. I thought there was no way I could do it. But, my team encouraged me to try, and I made it a couple of bars. The team let me realize I could do more than what I thought.”

One of the toughest obstacles in the course was a giant 43-foot wall called the Colossus. Adding to the difficulty of it being one of the final obstacles, runners had to sprint up the barrier after they’d already sludged through more than four miles in the mud, before grabbing a rope. They would then pull themselves up to the top of the fortification.

Savage Race participants wait in line to climb the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015.  The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

 

“The Colossus was the hardest part for me,” Zimmerman said. “I almost quit on it.”

Many people tried multiple times to conquer the wall, only to find themselves sliding down to the bottom. The Savage Race website quotes the obstacle as having a 60 percent completion rate.

“After three times, I was so exhausted,” Zimmerman described. “You’re looking at it and you’re seeing all these people trying and not making it. I scraped my leg sliding down the second time, and thought why am I doing this.”

Staff Sgt. Luis Pluguez, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, slides down a wall after a failed attempt at climbing the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Zimmerman’s mind changed after hearing a guy next to her say, “if I don’t make it this time, I’m going to walk away.”

“I told myself I don’t want to be that person,” Zimmerman continued. “I’m here and I want to do it. I ran up, grabbed the rope around my hand so I wouldn’t slide down. The space between the knots was almost too much for my little short arms. Fortunately, my team helped pull me up and I had some huge bruises from that. I felt so relieved.”

Members of Dobbins Air Reserve Base help 1st Lt. Banner Zimmerman, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron nurse, make it to the top of the Colossus during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Faber and Zimmerman explained one of the biggest challenges of the Savage Race was the amount of upper-body strength it took.

“There really was a lot,” Faber said. “There were several obstacles where you would have to pull yourself up by a rope, and then pull yourself up to get over the wall.”

Zimmerman continued, “After I got done with the Colossus, I thought we were finished. But, then we had to go over to this Masonry brink, pull that up a hill and carry it.”

Erica Jones, daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, pulls a masonry brick up a hill during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Because of the strength and endurance demanded from the athletes due to the Savage Race’s obstacles and distance, many people spend a lot of time training for the event.

“My biggest worry going into this was whether or not I was going to be able to run the whole time,” Faber, a former cross country runner, said. “I hadn’t been able to run as much as I had in the past because of school, and I wanted to run the whole thing.”

Zimmerman echoed the importance of training for the event.

“I didn’t do as good of a job preparing for this as I should have,” she said. “I had my [fitness test] the week before so I had to taper off for that. This was also supposed to be my baseline so I would know what I really needed to work on for the next one.”

Savage Race participants climb a rope wall during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

Winding through the course, the two had several moments where they wondered why signed up for it.

“After seeing the first mile marker, I remember thinking, ‘Oh gosh, it’s only been a mile,’” Zimmerman remarked.

She described several places where the mud went up to her knees due to rain for a week straight prior the race.

Faber fought the soggy ground by bringing water shoes to run in.

“I thought they would be helpful because they wouldn’t hold as much water,” he said. “Your shoes will get wet, and then they’ll be soaked the whole race. I almost slipped running downhill. I watched some people just slide down on their butts. I need to get new shoes for next time.”

Erica Jones, daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, climbs out of a pool of water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

There was no question overcoming the Savage Race was a great experience.

“I learned through this that I am actually stronger than I thought,” Zimmerman said. “Heading to the race and hearing about the obstacles I remember thinking, why did I do this, there is no way I can do this. But, getting through this and finishing it. I did it. I overcame it. The medal I got at the end really means a lot to me.”

Faber recommended that others need to try it; and not walk away from any of the obstacles.

Tech. Sgt. Vicki Brown, 94th Airlift Wing Command Post, wades through a muddy pool of ice water during the Georgia Spring 2015 Savage Race in Dallas, Ga., April 18, 2015. The Savage Race is an Air Force Reserve sponsored obstacle course that challenges participants in more than 20 different trials over the course of five miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Phelps)

“I didn’t make it through each one my first time,” added the three-time Savage Race veteran.

Comradery for strangers and teammates were seen throughout the course. The Colossus was where the most teamwork was seen. After people made it to the top of the wall, they would often stick around to help others make it.

“People everywhere were offering to help people who were struggling,” Zimmerman commented. “I never felt like I was doing something alone. It was either my wingmen or someone I had never met before.”

The lessons learned from the trials faced through the competition taught the Citizen Airmen some valuable lessons.

“I learned never to give up and keep pushing,” Zimmerman said.