No matter your age or occupation we all have it in us to rise up and do something special. It will require hard work and sacrifice. Discipline and focus. In the end you know that you stepped up to the challenge and were able to finish the drill.
Check out this interview with Mario Bohm as he talks about finishing the tough BMK race in Poland.
SGPT: Tell us about yourself? Where are you from and where do you train?
MB: Hello Brad, I am 55 years old and I live in Bremen, Germany. I run a tattoo business with my Wife and I’m a military infantry reservist. We have four Kids. I train at the Hyrox Gym Bremen and in my backyard I have climbing ropes and obstacles that I use to practice.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
MB: I started cycling when I was twelve years old. I trained often and participated for many years at lots of cycling races. Years later, MTB races were added. After that I took a break and didn’t do any sports. In 2008 I started with strength training and bodybuilding.
Ten years later, I started to change my training step by step and decided to use no more heavy weights. I started with a lot of endurance, rucking running and strength/endurance training because I wanted to lost bodyweight. I started the Hyrox Training in year 2020 and that was a good decision. My performance is growing.
SGPT: Tell us about your recent finish of the BMK race? What is it?
MB: The BMK is a military based obstacle race in Gdynia, Poland.
BMK stands for Bieg Morskiego Komandosa. It is the most difficult of this kind of Obstacle Course Race (OCR) in Poland.
It is created with the support from the Formoza, a polish special forces like the Navy Seals with the base at the military port in Gdynia. The Obstacles are inspired from the Formoza, Navy Seals and British SAS. The track lenght is 23 km.
You have to wear a complete military outfit, hat and boots to participate. You carry a backpack with 4,5 kg plus your food and water in it. It’s forbidden to take food and water from outside. Additionally you carry a AK47 Dummy. Before you start, you must lying in the East Sea for a few minutes and hear the briefing. You have to start completely wet.
If you want to become a soldier to the Formoza you have to complete this type of race in 4.5 hours.
My last finish was not optimal for me. I got Covid in the spring and because of that it wasn’t that easy for me. 6 Weeks without sport, only easy and slowly rucks after 4 weeks.
It took me until the beginning of July to feel as fit as before and then four weeks before BMK
I tore the ligaments in my foot while I was running. No Run, no ruck. I’ve been trying to compensate for the past few weeks with ski erg, rowing erg , and cycling an many other endurance exercises
My goal was just to get through. And I got it.
SGPT: How did you get the inspiration to try an event like this?
MB: I am interested in military drills and training from the US Marines, the Green Barret, the hell week of the Navy Seals, the selection process of the German KSK or the British SAS drills and many other Special Forces. What a person is able to do, how resilient a person can be. And the most important and motivating question for me is what am I still able to do at my age. One of my favorites are the older Sequels of the British TV series “Who dares wins“ That was very inspiring for me.
When I saw a video in 2019 from the BMK on the Facebook page from “Military Training Hamburg“, a shooting drill company, I knew I wanted to take part of it. So I had to go to the BMK in Poland. 2020 was the first time for me.
SGPT: How did you train for the BMK race event?
MB: In 2020 I did a lot of running with a weighted plate carrier but since I‘m old this wasn’t too good for my body. I do backpacks with 10, 15 and 20 kg and distances from 10 to 25 km. Then started with Hyrox Training and it was a good decision because my resilience was growing.
I logged on to SEALgrinderPT.com and check out articles about Navy SEALs and tips on training and workouts.
2021 I did a lot more of Hyrox and Murph style training. And many other military sport exercises but in the middle of the year I had a hamstring injury. I changed from running to cycling and it was ok. I was feeling good and I finished the BMK in 05 h 36 m
SGPT: What was the hardest part of the BMK race event?
MB: This is not easy to say. I think it was the combination of everything.
We had to crawl into a small 300 meter long sewer pipe without any light, sometimes so tight that we had to push the backpack and the ak47 in front of us. There were many little stones, mud and dirty water.
But also the sequence at the beach was not easy because of the deep sand and many obstacles. Especially the end of the run is hard, the last 3-4 km you come into the finish area. You can see the finish line and you have to overcome many obstacles. You feel empty, hypoglycemic and thirsty but you have to go for the last 3-4 km.
SGPT: What kind of trail running shoes/boots did you use for the BMK race?
MB: At my first run I used the Zephyr Boots from Lowa. Those are very good boots but not good for BMK.
The boots soaked up the water so that I was thinking I had barbells on my feet. 2021 I bought the SHADOW AMPHIBIAN from Lalo. These boots are better. The water was able to run off and it wasn’t soaked up as much. Only the little stones and sand got in there but I ignored that.
SGPT: What did you use on your feet to prevent blisters? Trail running /hiking specific socks?
MB: I used normal hiking socks. But I have to say I have rare problems with my feet.
SGPT: What kind of ruck did you use for training and the actual event? Did you use sand bags in your training?
MB: For rucking I used the Berghaus Cyclopse 2 Vulcan ca 100 Liters. It is also used by the German military.
For the BMK I used the „Essentialpack“ from Tasmanian Tiger. A 15 Liter military daypack. Lightweight and compact without unnecessary accessories for BMK.
I used Sandbags for Walking Lunges 20 or 30 kg a excersise at the Hyrox
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for the BMK race?
MB: More running and rucking. I hope next year I can train without any problems.
And I need much more food and water in my ruck. This is very important for me.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to finish the BMK race or start training for one?
MB: Train like you want to join the military. Reduce your body weight. Eat good food. Start early in the year and slowly increase the training load. The older you are the more important it is. Train your mobility. Do HIT training and sufficient basic endurance. Do push ups, squats, pull ups and burpees with the equipment weight. Because if you don’t manage an obstacle you have to do 20 reps of it. You have give your body rest periods
Look at the website, they have a lot of information, also in English.
SGPT: What good book or audio/podcast are you listening to?
MB: I read many books of military training and mindset. I read books from Jocko Willinck, Marc Divine and many military motivation and training Videos. I already said it, the British TV Series „who dares wins“ with ex british SAS Soldiers as instructors was a good motivation for me when I had weak days. I especially like the first seasons.
SGPT: Thanks for the interview Mario. Much appreciated.
MB: Thank you Brad it was an honour for me.
Check out Mario Bohm on Instagram:
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