Adventure spills from Bonnet Carre

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NORCO – While Krewe du Monde rolled through the streets of LaPlace, Louisiana

Air National Guardsmen tested their warrior status at Warrior Dash, an extreme obstacle course adventure run on the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Norco.

Airmen from the 159th Fighter Wing’s 214th Engineering and Installation Squadron and the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron challenged their fitness capabilities by participating in the fierce 3.18 mile race.

The Airmen trekked through mud and sludge to their first obstacle, several stacks of giant straw bales more than 15 feet high.

“I was thinking to myself ‘this stinks!’ But I fought through the discomfort to finish the race,”

said Tech. Sgt. Scott M. Corales, a joint tactical air controller or JTAC, in the 122nd ASOS, from Metairie. “Even though I was knee deep in mud, it was still fun.”

In the quest to

promote physical fitness, the adventure seekers wanted something challenging yet fun.

“It looked like fun, so me and a few close friends of mine signed up,” said Master Sgt. Jerry J. Falcone, 159th Fighter Wing command post superintendent. “The race was messy and a great way to challenge ourselves while having fun doing it.”

Courtney P. Gupton, wife of Sgt. Michael D. Gupton and a member of the LANG’s 415th Military Intelligence Battalion from Carville, ran in honor of her husband, who is currently serving in the Middle East.

“This is something I know my husband would love to do, and I’ve never ran a race like this before,” said Gupton, who is from Norco. “I wanted to do something Michael would enjoy, and doing this helps me feel closer to him while he’s gone.”

She went on to describe the obstacles in the race and found the Tunnel of Terror to be the most difficult.

“It was this black, Visqueen-lined, tunnel-shaped tent, and you had to crawl on your stomach in the mud and in total darkness,” she explained.

Other obstacles were a bit more taxing as racers had to make their way through waist-deep water while climbing over logs. The airmen pushed their bodies to the limit, climbing over cargo nets, leaping over a fire obstacle and crawling under barbed wire to make their way across the mud covered finish line.

Afterwards, they celebrated with live music, loud cheers and warrior helmets.

Covered from head to toe in mud, Master Sgt. Paul Schulz, also a JTAC in the 122nd ASOS, could not stop smiling as he recovered from the race.

“This was awesome!” said Schulz. “This was pretty similar to real world training in my line of work, and I’ll definitely be back next year for more.”

There were more than 7,500 participants and an estimated 11,000 spectators.

Warrior Dash is held across the U.S. and in Canada and Australia in the most challenging terrain in each location and is labeled “America’s most insane race.” This is the first year it has been held in Louisiana.