What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 4 days ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 3 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 3 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 12 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 13 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 21 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 21 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
2 years 23 weeks ago
More in News
'We just want to survive'/three locals gear up for the Death Race
GEARED UP — Shannon Francis, left, and Tedd Coffin, hump 80-pound packs and truck tires during a training session at Roberts Farm Preserve in Norway. Francis, Coffin and Josh Dow are getting ready for the Winter Death Race, to be held February 1 in Pittsfield, VT.
OXFORD HILLS — Imagine two straight days of forced marches with 80-pound backpacks; full-body immersion in freezing streams; carrying boulders; chopping half-cords of wood; thousands of push-ups and running six-mile loops on mountain paths.
In the middle of the winter.
For most people, it sounds like a bad weekend at the very least. At most, it resembles torture.
Shannon Francis, from West Paris, Tedd Coffin, from Raymond and Josh Dow, from Paris aren't most people – they've actually paid for the opportunity to put their bodies through the meat grinder known as the Death Race.
The event, held twice a year, in winter and summer in Pittsfield, VT, attracts hundreds of contestants from around the world who gather for the ultimate test of physical and mental stamina.
Racers are presented with a series of extreme challenges – lifting and carrying boulders, chopping wood, slogging through frozen streams and running up mountains.
The goal? To see how long you can hold out before your body – or mind – give out. Contestants are challenged to keep up a grueling pace of activity for up to 48 hours.
Only about 15 percent of racers make it to the end.
The three locals have been training for months – heading into the White Mountains for 24-hour stints carrying, chopping and lifting in the winter cold.
Now, they say they're ready – or at least as ready as they can be. The course is only unveiled to contestants at the starting line, so there's only so much preparation racers can do.
"They do not tell you anything other than when to show up," Francis says.
“The only thing you can count on is carrying heavy stuff, and pain."
He speaks from experience – two years ago, Francis tried the Death Race for the first time. After 30 hours, he finally threw in the towel. Later, he found out the race ended only half an hour after he left the field.
This year, he's committed to finishing – and he's bringing Coffin and Dow with him.
All three are regular participants in extreme obstacle races, but the Death Race is a step beyond extra-ordinary physical exertion.
For Dow, the race is a test – to see just how far he can push himself. In fact, he's a little disappointed he didn't join Francis two years ago.
“I want to know where that point is where I can't go any further,” Dow says.
In Francis' experience, that point is further than one might think.
“You're just so amazed at what your body can take,” he says.
The three athletes aren't even looking to win the race — just survive until the end.
Even if they don't make it all the way through, they're looking forward to the bragging rights just simply trying the Death Race will get them.
"There's a lot of people that run 5ks, 10ks, marathons, stuff like that," says Coffin. "There's very few people that do something like this."
“It’s almost like an addiction,” says Francis. “You just want more.”
So on February 1, the three guys, along with a couple hundred other racers, will descend on Pittsfield to see who'll be crowned winner, but more importantly, who will still be standing at the finish line.
SLOGGING — Carrying logs, axes, crampons, backpacks and tires, Shannon Francis and Tedd Coffin head into Roberts Farm Preserve to train for the Death Race.