Wow, after 66+ insane hours of the Death Race, at approximately 1:30am this morning, the race was declared over and FINISHER skulls were awarded. I’m so HONORED to receive a skull along with all the other AMAZING athletes that finished. We accomplished something greater than ourselves! The athletes that did not finish are equally amazing because they had the fortitude to attempt such an extremely challenging event, dug deep, and gave it all that they had.
We endured 70-80 miles of hiking the mountains surrounding Pittsfield, Vermont. There was constant pressure about completing challenges and meeting time cut offs. We were required to navigate to different locations to accumulate points and reach a certain number of points within a given time. Longer hikes were more points. We completed numerous unique Death Race challenges, built stone stairs (again), countless burpees, memorization tasks, made clothing from scratch using buckskin to wear during the race, we dragged and carried boulders and stones up the mountain using ropes and tree limbs, we endured standing on our feet in silence while taking a 26 question test after dumping the contents of our packs in a pile. Seeing all of our gear strewn in a pile angered me, the test pissed me off, we were offered opportunities to do exercises in order to ask questions about the test. We were told we needed 100% correct on the test or DNF. This went on for 7 hours. We were tired, stiff and cold. I almost broke. I knew if I stayed focused, this would somehow pass and some other event would follow. Numerous people quit randomly throughout the entire race at the extreme mental challenges the Death Race plays on participants but this one broke many people. There was a point of extreme tension and disarray while athletes were dropping out and trying to recover their gear. It became slightly chaotic but in a sense so masterfully planned. Eventually, we turned in our tests and were released.
We immediately went on to completing laps up to Shrek’s Cabin on top of the mountain back to Riverside Farm. This was one of my favorite but extremely challenging times of the race. Many of us were pushing each other to crush as many laps as we could in the 6 1/2 hour span. The moments of camaraderie and motivation between athletes was incredible. Thanks to Anthony Matesi, Mark Jones, Mark Webb, Pete Coleman and Ben Sexton (and others) for inspiring, challenging and pushing me. I pushed myself to complete 7 laps. I pushed so hard that as I came in from my 7th lap, I was in tears crossing into the check-in corral. This was only 15 minutes before the 7am regroup for or next challenge. We were instructed to only be wearing our adult diaper, Tyvek suit, and race bib when we came back to meet.
In an amazing twist and Death Race first, racers we told that our next task would take us away from the farm for 16 hours. We were given an option of picking a bus to get on for our journey. There was a white charter bus and yellow school bus. I decided on the charter bus. We had no idea where we were going.
First, we drove several hours and made a stop to visit a dying patient in a hospice in Westchester, NY to honor a request by Rick Cohen . Rick was a participant of the Death Race and was simultaneously creating a documentary of the race. This was a dear friend of Rick’s and something that gave him closure while dealing with his friends impending death.
Our second stop was to a chapel in New York City to complete a scavenger hunt. We met with Joe De Sena, were given instructions with 5-6 locations to go and tasks to complete, and were left in the middle of Manhatten. We traveled by foot and by subway while in New York. Initially, our team of racers were disorganized and frantic. We did quickly make a plan and successfully completed the challenges within the required time. After the scavenger hunt was completed, we were offered an amazing dinner at the exclusive Explorers Club. The Explorers Club is a private club where members are only accepted by application. Potential members have to complete explorations with a purpose behind them. So, there we were, in this exclusive club with expensive historic exploration relics wearing diapers and bright white Tyvek suits. We had hors d’voures and were told the history behind the club. We then ate dinner as a team with Joe De Sena and some of his counterparts. This was a brief moment during the race that we could in a sense relate the greatness of accomplishing the Death Race to the truly great things accomplished by explorers in history. This was truly an amazing experience that I am honored to have participated in simply by choosing a bus.
While in New York, mental challenges and mind games were in abundance but we did not break. We stayed strong as a team and worked extremely well together and were united in making decisions. We kept being told that we would not be receiving skulls. We traveled back to Pittsfield via bus where we met the other racers. At about 1:30am we arrived back to Riverside Farm. Once again, we were made to believe we were not getting skulls. The whole day, we also had no idea what the other racers in the yellow bus were doing. We exited the bus to find the other group of racers lined up and chanting. We lined up and the race was declared over and an awards ceremony with skull presentation was completed.
EVERYONE that endured up to this point received a skull. Year of the Explorer will go down in Death Race history as one of the greatest Death Races.
I want to give a special shout out to Carey Degon on FINISHING her first Death Race. YOU DID IT!!
Also, shout out to my sister Janice MissTattoo Dolitsky and her finacé Brian for being the best support crew around!
Thank you the following companies for supporting my adventures in the way that you do! I’m so grateful for your support!