Running the Obstacle Course

Written by Dan. Added on August 19, 2005.

I remember a fall camporee where one of the activities was an obstacle course. The course was timed, and there were some neat hurdles to overcome. There were two patrols in our Troop back then and each of us did all of the events, including the obstacle course.

Later in the day—after finishing the events—both patrols were back at the campsite talking about the day. We had an idea: the biggest, fastest, strongest guys in the Troop should do the obstacle course together. Surely we would be able to set a record and win first place!

We headed back out to the course, where we found out the best time was just under five minutes. We got signed in, the clock was started, and we ran down the trail to the first obstacle.

Since we all had done the course earlier, we briefly talked about how to do each obstacle.Me and another Scout ran a little faster to get to the first obstacle: a four-foot wall to climb over. He and I reached the wall and stood on each side of it with our hands out for the others to jump into. The first Scout arrived moments later, stepped into our hands, and we threw him over the wall. Then we threw the next Scout over—right onto the first! We threw the other Scouts over equally fast. Nobody was hurt, but this wasn’t a good start!

I helped the last Scout over the wall. I was going to turn around to get a running start to make it over, but I didn’t have a chance—everybody on the other side grabbed me and just pulled me over! (The next day I had a bruise on my chest from how hard I hit against the wall.) They all immediately started running to the next obstacle, but didn’t let go of me! They dragged me about ten feet!

We approached the next obstacle: a rope swing, with a mud pit underneath it. Each of us swung across as quickly as we could, but none of us could move out of the way fast enough. One after another, we all swung across, knocked into the guy ahead of us, and fell in the mud!

Another obstacle was a balance beam we had to get across without falling off of. We all ran full steam down the trail, across the balance beam, and continued on the trail, without a hiccup. This is how our strong patrol was supposed to work!

The last obstacle was a bit more involved. We had to build a stretcher and carry a patrol member to the end. We were all experienced Scouts and knew the right way to build a stretcher: lay a blanket out on the ground, flat. Put a spar, or stick, about 1/3 of the way across the blanket and put another 2/3 of the way across. Lastly, fold each end of the blanket towards the middle. With the weight of a person on the stretcher, it’ll hold in place and work well.

So that’s what we did: we arrived at the obstacle and rushed to build a stretcher. Like I said, we did this course already so we had worked out who would get each spar, who would get the blanket and help lay it out, and who would be the “patient” that was carried. The stretcher came together quickly and we began to pick it up as the Scout “patient” jumped on it!

Remember, the stretcher doesn’t work right unless the weight of the patient is there to hold the blanket in place before it’s picked up. The Scout jumped on the stretcher, pulled the blanket apart, and landed hard on the ground. We rushed to reassemble the stretcher and get to the end of the obstacle course.

We all came out of the course with several scratches, bruises, and a few blood stains, as I recall. This “super patrol” didn’t benefit from our combined strength, speed, or agility, and we didn’t win first place at the obstacle course. Our final time? More than 20 minutes!