Men’s Health Urbanathlon (Chicago): Hitting the wall

Amid the chaotic processional of runners, that my wife could predict my entrance, pick me out (in my all black), and be ready with the video camera on her phone, well, it’s more heroic than my completing the race. I can’t say enough.

Thanks to her keen sense of timing I have the clip below to share. I’ve edited it to show you just the last 50 seconds of the race, which begins with me falling on my ass at the bottom of the bus climb (I explained this earlier), and wraps when I triumphantly scale the wall.

Beyond mocking my rope-climbing prowess, I’m sharing this clip because it demonstrates all of the different ways you can get over that final wall. So watch it several times, focusing on all of the action along the wall. You’ll see people hopelessly dangling, some swinging back and forth for momentum, others climbing on backs, a few getting pulled up, others straight up scaling it, some curiously attempting the rope climb, and just about every other maneuver a tired person might try when confronted with an eight-foot wall.

Prior to the race I felt like the wall held a great deal of mystery for runners (evidenced by all of the pre-race practice climbs and casual sizing up), but the reality is that all bets are off after 10 miles and you do whatever you can at the time. See wall. Climb wall.

On a lighter note, I didn’t realize it until editing this video but at the 40-second mark there is a guy to my right in a blue shirt, already dangling on the wall and swinging left to right like a pendulum, and just as I make my move and grab the top of the wall he swings hard left and nearly knocks me out (which partly influenced my choice of background music in the clip). I’m being dramatic, but it could have ended badly nonetheless.

More than anything, just know that there’s more than one way to get over the wall, and you’ll find yours.


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