by Carrie Adams

“I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it.”
— Marilyn Monroe

263189_225185490837083_147674081921558_790301_1924897_nWhen the first of the headlamp lights pierced the darkness of the rain whipped night, all the volunteers at the pond crossing task rose to their feet.  Seeing the lights materialize out of the deep void of the forest, bobbing side to side is an eerie but welcome site.  It signaled that the first of the racers had successfully navigated the swollen and fast-moving river to get here nearly eight hours since the race began.  The racers were quickly ushered into the 45 degree pond and were made to stand waist deep for five minutes to await the arrival of the rest of the field.

In that first group of a dozen or she stood, shivering against the cold that assaulted her270672_225179407504358_147674081921558_790205_7480408_n bare legs a trash bag tied around her small frame to keep her and her pack dry.  Her eyes were clear and focused and she cracked a few jokes with Joe Decker and the other front runners.   It was 27 year old Grace Cuomo Durfee, 12th place Death Race finisher in 2010 and she was on a mission in 2011.

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by Carrie Adams

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Patrick Walsh, 2011 Spartan Death Race

I wish folks would stop portraying the race as borderline insanity or stupidity. It may be hard for people to understand but I can assure you that it has nothing to do with masochism, self-flagellation or stupidity. It’s about self-mastery, learning patience, and understanding the perception of limits, which are the most sane things in the world.” – Patrick Walsh, 2011 Death Race finisher

The required gear list called for a hand drill.  Carpenter Bryan Selm packed his hand drill as required but also included an electric version as optional gear.  The rules allow for optional gear the racers want to bring, they just have to carry it throughout the course.  Lightweight and stored in a dry bag, it was a wise addition.  The drill made the task of drilling his number into his log a much faster process and his number “103″ was quickly inscribed on his 36 inch length of log.

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Joe Decker, Log Drilling

Nearby, Nate Brown sized up his log and the small drill in his hands.  “It looked good on Amazon” he laughed.  It was clear, however; that his small drill would take hours to effectively complete the task at hand.  Without hesitation, Selm handed over his electric drill to Brown to use, knowing it would slow down his transition to the next challenge.  Two others used the drill before Selm ultimately set off up the mountain for Roger’s farm hike.

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