Say the words ‘Death Race’ and most of us probably imagine the 1975 classic high speed, macho, sci-fi romp starring Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine as a bunch of futuristic, Wacky Racer-esque petrol heads trying to kill each other in between bouts of shambolic,naked 70‘s style gratuity.
Big bushes and hefty helmets ruled the day back then, and despite a very poor remake (as most remakes are) starring Jason Statham (he of ugly, cockney, balding, high-testosterone, ridiculous muscle definition and tedious dialogue fame) which tried to bring the film up to date, the classic remains just that.
Today however the term Death Race applies to a new real life event in which insanely determined super freaks attempt to complete a gruelling set of challenges that only an egotistical, narcissistic masochist would contemplate, let alone enjoy. Dick Dastardly need not apply.
Two such maniacs preparing for this moderately new craze are Norwich based duo Ryan Davis and Philip Brown.
“It’s a crazy race, so we are doing a lot of crazy stuff to train and prepare,” exclaims an almost hyperactive Ryan Davis. “We work out six days a week, two times a day.”
“We are pretty hyped for this race, I know it sounds crazy, but we like to do crazy things!”
The 21-year-old athlete and college major studying psychology is hoping to add his name to a list of few who have completed the 24 hour death race. With six weeks to go until the challenge (June 24th in Pittsfield) in which participants must sign a mortality waiver to relinquish organisers ‘Peak Races’ of any responsibility, the pair are stepping up the workout.
And workout to the nth degree they must if they stand any chance of completing the ridiculously gruelling trials that await them. Crawling through heavy mud filled with barbed wire, running for several miles against the current in flowing rivers and climbing hills while carrying tree stumps or bike frames are just a few elements of madness they must overcome to reach the goal.
“We heard about it from a couple of friends on campus, who completed the race,” said Brown, also 21-years-old and studying history. “They said it is a big challenge, and we like challenges so we want to see how we do.”
The boys are hoping to maintain a Norwich tradition, given that every contestant from there has completed the race.
“We believe that it’s really overrated with the fatality waiver,” added Brown. “With right training and a strong mentality, we know we can finish the race.”
Their fitness regime includes swimming, weight-lifting, snow running and plyometrics, a system of explosive exercises designed to improve flexibility and nervous system response times.
“We use other challenges, like Bulldog Challenge, Levy Challenge and Best Ranger, only to prepare along with other workouts,” said Davis.
I’m not sure if the dynamic duo should be awarded medals for bravery or slipped into white, buckled jackets, but according to Brown their mental state plays a big part in the overall game.
“It’s real mental, because some parts of the race is set-up to where your body can’t really take it, unless you stop and think about what you are doing,” he explained. “Otherwise you’ll give out, and it’s long so you have to keep going and not let your mind give out on your body.”
Other aspects to the event include memory games involving former US presidents which must be remembered in the correct order and Lego bricks that require rebuilding correctly.
“You have to have a goal or drive to really complete the race,” stated Philip Brown. “You have to have a mind-set that if you are going to work out hard and determination then you’ll finish.”
Perhaps the tag Death Race is a little over the top but it certainly doesn’t sound like fun to me; still, best of luck to both participants as it sounds like they’ll need it.
Tell us what you think of this insane sounding Death Race by leaving a comment.
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