Soldiers from around the Military Information Support Operations community competed in a punishing 22-mile race during the Lightning Warrior Challenge held May 3.

The Lightning Warrior Challenge took place on the All American Trail and was devised in order to bring the MISO community together to test their abilities in a friendly competition. Participants were allowed to dress however they wanted as long as it was appropriate. Some even dressed up as super heroes, video game characters and celebrities.

“The purpose of this competition was to challenge Soldiers physically and mentally and build camaraderie. Colonel (Reginald J.) Bostick, our group commander, designed this run as just one of a series of events that build on one another and really push our Soldiers,” said Maj. Jeffrey Souter, operations officer assigned to the 4th Military Information Support Group.

During the race, 73 teams comprised of two competitors per team strove to complete the challenge while still maintaining team integrity.

Along with keeping pace with their partner, runners were required to complete 44 obstacles that were spaced hundreds of meters apart.

Included in the obstacles were wall climbs, a mud pit, humvee tire carry, sandbag toss, log carry, tap-code cipher and many other mental challenges.

“This event was not only physical in nature. Half of the obstacles were what we call cognitive challenges, where Soldiers had to use their minds as well as their muscles to get through the events,” said Souter.

Challengers greatly differed in the amount of time it took them to complete the contest. Capt. Mathew Daigle and Staff Sgt. Blake Hampton of Company A, 6th Military Support Battalion emerged as the winners of this years competition with a completion time of 5 hours 13 minutes, while some of the other teams took as long as nine hours.

Daigle said it was not easy to take first place and he and Hampton owed their victory to preparation and pushing themselves hard the entire way.

“We have been working out twice a day the last few weeks to prepare for this and we carb loaded all week. The guys who came in second almost caught us toward the end but we had put enough space between us to finish ahead of them,” said Daigle.

Daigle and Hampton have participated in events similar to the Lightning Warrior Challenge such as the Army 10-Miler, Warrior-Ninja Challenge and cross-country meets.

“I would recommend events like this to anyone. It really makes you test your determination and prove to yourself that you can accomplish something a lot of people can’t,” said Daigle.