My Obstacle Course Racing Journey

By John Lenkway
This short post is about a former overweight special education teacher’s journey through obstacle course racing (OCR) and what has led him up to his next event: Regiment Running’s Tough Training Trials (aka T3) which includes team work, running, rucking, and a lot of PT.

Let’s start with a little background information. My name is John Lenkway. I am 29 years old and a Tallahassee native who is currently living in South Florida. I am a special education teacher who inspires and motivates at-risk teenagers.

All of my life I’ve struggled with my weight, feeling fat, and out of shape. I was the overweight kid who was always picked last in gym class. I did, however, join the swim team the last two years of high school. Besides that, I did not consider myself to be athletic at all. Actually, I hated the idea of working out and going to the gym. I hated the idea of running even more.

In college I got into partying and had lost a lot of weight, down to 160 lbs. I am 6ft tall and have a big frame so 160lbs for me was an unhealthy weight. By the end of grad school the partying had ceased and I picked up the fork. I went from 160 lbs to 240 lbs in seven months. Needless to say, my life was now becoming unmanageable and something needed to change.

At the age of 24 I joined the gym for the first time in my life and started paying attention to what I was eating. This led me to my fitness addiction. Also for the first time in my life, I loved working out!

Over the past 5 years, my fitness journey has brought me to many different places and has introduced me to some amazing people. One of the best things it did, about 2 ½ years ago, was introduce me to the sport of OCR and mud runs! Currently this is my passion and I now gear my training towards it!

During my 1st year I did many different OCR events and mud runs. At these races I’d see people on their 2nd or 3rd lap, carrying a large black flag with a red “R” symbol. I figured if these guys could run the course more than once and carry a large flag, then there was no reason for me to give up. Later I found out that they were a part of a team called, The Regiment Elite. I now had a new goal! I wanted to be a Regiment Elite!

To become a part of The Regiment Elite team, you must complete one of the events called a T3. At the time I didn’t know exactly what that entailed. I however, have a good friend that had completed one but was pretty vague on the details. Each event is slightly different. The one I did turned out to be about a 12 hour team event. For 20 miles, we rucked, ran, and did team building exercises and a lot of PT in between. It was one of the hardest but most rewarding events I had ever done!

At the end of it I had earned my covenant red R patch which signifies that you are a Regiment Elite. When you see someone with that patch, you know that they truly earned it and it wasn’t freely given to them. Every time I meet someone that has one, I feel an instant connection with that person because I know they went through, the same thing I did to earn it. We are a team; Team Regiment!

My wife, friends and coworkers think I’m crazy for doing these events but I can’t get enough so I have signed up for another T3 this December. For this particular T3, they partnered up with Battle Frog series and the cadre for this event will include actual Navy Seal BUD/S instructors. This is a 12 hour, 16 mile, team-building ruck, run, and PT event. There will be five laps that test our strength, endurance, camaraderie, and intellect. One of the laps will include a six mile beach run and the rucking must be done with at least 15% of your body weight. Needless to say it’s going to be brutal but I’m stoked!

If you love doing OCR or just want a new challenge I recommend checking it out! Sometime when people are thinking about signing up, they don’t realize that this is a team event. We have to work together to finish. This isn’t just about what can I do or you can do but what we can do together. As long as we support and help one another, we will be successful.

I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy but nothing worth having comes easily. There are 16 people currently registered for the T3 in December, only half of us are predicted to show up and complete the event. I personally want to make sure I’m one of those people so I continue to push my training and not rest on my laurels.

People often ask why I do these events. For me, I believe if I can push myself through these obstacles, than I can handle any obstacles I face in my day-to-day life. I also have set goals to participate in longer, more challenging events, and this will help me achieve those goals.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in or would like more information you can go to:

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