There are millions of running races, thousands of marathons, hundreds of triathlons and dozens of ultra marathons, but there is only one Death Race.
Studio City resident and former U.S. Marine Benjamin Steeples will join a roster of only 300 elite endurance athletes. Together they are given the chance to test their strength and mental endurance in this grueling event.
The 2014 Death Race is scheduled to begin on June 27, in the small town of Pittsfield, Vt. The obstacle and challenge-driven race requires competitors to complete numerous grueling mental and physical challenges throughout a 40-mile course that runs through the Vermont woods.
During the Death Race, competitors may be asked to:
- Chop wood for two hours
- Complete a 30-mile hike with rocks and weighted packs
- Build a fire from scratch
- Cut a bushel of onions; or
- After 24-hours of racing, memorize the names of the first 10 U.S. Presidents or a Bible verse, hike to the top of a mountain and recite them back in order -- miss a word and you get to do it again… and again… and again
Unlike other endurance races that offer a detailed map, Death Racers have no idea what to expect next as the course map and list of challenges are kept secret. This provides competitors with one of their biggest challenges as the length of the race can range from 48-72 hours.
For an endurance athlete, not knowing where the light is at the end of the tunnel can be sheer torture.
“Endurance challenges like the Death Race allow me a unique opportunity,” said Benjamin. “I get to test myself, to apply valuable life skills, and to see how far I can push my physical and mental limits.”
"Just like life, the Death Race is designed to push and aggravate people to such a point that even the most stoic eventually fail," said Joe De Sena, co-founder of the Death Race and the Reebok Spartan Race founder.
"Only those people possessing incredible discipline under the most insane and even delusional circumstances can call themselves a finisher. These athletes are willing to complete the journey at all costs. The fact that people endured for 70 hours (last year) to see what they are made of is just remarkable and awe-inspiring."
Benjamin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving five years active duty from 1998 to 2003. Corporal Steeples deployed to Iraq in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2007, Benjamin graduated film school and began his film and television career here in Los Angeles. Benjamin currently works for Warner Brothers Entertainment as 2nd Assistant Cameraman on the CBS shows Mom and The Big Bang Theory.