Commandos put public through paces for charity

17 Jul

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By Alex Frisby-Smith, Bond University journalism student

Australia’s first military-inspired obstacle course designed by Australian Special Forces attracted people of all fitness ranges and ages over the weekend.

The nine-month-old business True Grit made its first appearance in Queensland on Saturday after holding their first-ever event in South Australia during May this year.

True Grit’s directors and still active Commandos on special leave, Adam Mcnamee and Matt Cardinaels saw the likes of super athletes from the Obstacle Course Racing League of Australia to a 60-year-old woman completing ‘just another challenge’.

The 60-year-old , Christine Master, said she had never done obstacle racing before but wanted to challenge herself and prove that age was no barrier.

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, you can do anything you want, it doesn’t matter how old you are,” she said.

“I feel absolutely thrilled I’ve done it. I feel tired, I feel gross, I’m covered in mud and water from head to toe, but I feel great – absolutely amazing.”

Ms Master said she attempted every obstacle but could not complete the monkey bars or finish carrying a 20kg sandbag up a hill.

“I was climbing ropes and going through tunnels,” she said.

The determination and focus of Ms Master was something the obstacle league’s second-place woman, Deanna Blegg, loved about the atmosphere of True Grit.

“I love the atmosphere, everyone that is out there have set their own goals, and are doing it for their own reason,” she said.

“Just the personal achievement that they feel, that’s what I love about it.”

Director Adam Mcnamee said the obstacle course was intended to challenge an individual’s physical and psychological limit.

“We try to play on a number of different factors from the physical but also the psychological side of things, so heights, fire, cold water, tunnels – there will be a bit of claustrophobia,” he said.

“There’s plenty of obstacle courses out there, but we try and theme ours around the military-inspired obstacles.”

Mr Mcnamee said his scariest moments as a Commando were in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Just getting shot at I suppose, and having car bombs go off,” he said.

True Grit aims to support the charities Commando Welfare Trust and Legacy, through donating a portion of their profits towards these organisations.

“The other director [Matt] was wounded in our last trip in 2010 … I’ve lost a number of guys, killed and wounded.

“Commando Welfare Trust provides support for the families of the guys that died. It’s a similar support mechanism that Legacy provides, but specifically for the east coast of Australia.”

Legacy cares for 100,000 widows, 1900 children and disabled dependents across Australia.

“The public generally tends to hear about the ‘killed guys’ and the ‘wounded guys’ more than the families of those killed,” he said.

“But it’s the families and the individuals that are being wounded and need to be looked after as well and there’s a lot more of them.”

Mr Mcnamee and Matt Cardinaels have served 33 combined years together with four overseas deployments.

They have been in the Special Forces since they were around 18 years old and are still Commandos in the second regiment, currently on leave.

For more information, visit http://www.truegrit.com.au

Caption: Christine Master and her team celebrating at the finish line

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