15 December, 2013 Gloria Lin Participants make way through the course. (Photo taken by VOXSPORTS) Like many other novelty trial runs, the Commando Challenge burst onto the running scene for the first time this year. Offering participants an experience purportedly created by the Special Forces, the obstacle course served up lots of mud and adventure through more than 25 obstacles on 15 December. Challengers braved through either the 12 kilometers route or the four kilometers dash, with both routes ending with the same obstacles at the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. Towering heights Participants - all 6,000 of them for both routes - went head to head with towering heights in one of the obstacles A metal structure almost 4 metres tall, it had some racers pausing at the peak to consider their bravado at the start of the challenge. Although standing at the peak of the metal contraption proved to be nerve-wrecking for some racers, many overcame their inhibitions to scale over it successfully. For some, they had to go through the challenge twice as the route overlapped it. Having bulldozed through the better part of the race, many runners sported battle wounds by the time they came to the metal structure. Nonetheless, they persevered. Ice pool The greatest enemy is oneself, as displayed by the tough souls who fought their own exhaustion overcoming one of the last obstacles in the race, the ice pool. Although by this stage the participants had gone through most of the obstacle course, the sheer sight of a large container of ice presented a significant mental challenge in addition to its physical demands. The faces of many participants betrayed their surprise at seeing the large pool filled with ice - which they had to crawl through - as it was assumed by many that the obstacle would involve cold or ice water, and not purely ice. After sweating it out while pounding the pavements, runners did not welcome the shock of being submerged in freezing-cold ice. However, they fought till the end to earn their title of Commando Challenger. Hurdles with water In one of the obstacles, participants were presented with a more advanced version of hurdles - hurdles with water. After scaling over the walls of these containers, they were faced with muddy water inside. A muddy end to a muddy race, that’s for sure! Tall rope Climbing down the tall rope structure seemed as hard as climbing up had been for many racers, with the set-up swaying with every move made by the people on it. With all eyes fixed on ground and hands firmly grasping the ropes, racers descended the towering structure successfully. No doubt the height may have been heart-stopping for many, but having already braved through so many obstacles, few, if any, were willing to give up when the end was so near in sight. The supporters lined up along the railway track also helped give some participants the encouraging push they needed to follow through to the finish. Another ice pool To some racers’ dismay, they were greeted by another ice pool further down the road after their rope course. This time, they were required to keep their bellies on the ground as they traversed the length of the pool, which only served to up the ante of toughness. Despite the not-so-pleasant surprise, they emerged from it as finishers to a very challenging race indeed. Finishing the obstacles as commando Most racers celebrated their finish with a fist pump in the air, but some, having acquired a new taste for mud, went the extra mile by rolling across the finish line triumphantly.