High School Athletes Dominate in ‘Extreme Wolverine’ Obstacle Race

Obstacle Races provide a unique athletic proving ground requiring endurance, stamina and explosive power.

The Extreme Wolverine Challenge pits athletes against obstacles such as a cement block carry, half-pipe walls, and a culvert pipe crawl — not to mention miles of running just to get from obstacle to obstacle on the course.

Age 17 and the winner of an ‘Extreme Wolverine’ race

We talked with two student winners of the Extreme Wolverine Challenge high school division in Spencer, Mass., to learn what to expect in the upcoming “adult” version of the race. (Team GearJunkie will compete in the event on July 13 at Stratton Mountain, Vt.)

“It was just a great race,” said female winner Taylor Fritze. “It’s a great experience and makes you feel good.”

Male winner Camden Dacey took the win on the day of his 17th birthday. Both winners are strong runners and athletes who graciously shared their secrets for a strong race.

—Sean McCoy

High school winners took home trophies

1—Be ready to run. Dacey can run the 400-meter in 51 seconds. That physical preparedness helps with the intervals between obstacles on the course.

2—Work the upper body. Upper body strength is a secondary consideration for many endurance athletes, but obstacle races require some muscle. With walls to climb, monkey bar-type obstacles, and heavy objects to carry, the arms and shoulders will get a real workout.

Be ready for an upper body workout.

3—Don’t wear your favorite T-shirt. “A lot of my friends were trashing their clothes,” Dacey said. Yes, this is a race, but it’s probably best to leave your best tech T at home. Your clothes will likely be wrecked by the end.

4—Consider wearing gloves. Many of the obstacles require hand use and some are made of wood. Dacey said a thin pair of bike gloves helped him improve grip on walls and avoid splinters.

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Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.