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Eckel competes for U.S. in Greece
Eckel Greece Competition 1.jpg
Brandon Eckel shows off his medals he earned competing in the Spartan Trifecta World Championships in Greece Earlier this month.

Local man, Brandon Eckel, represented the United States well while competing in the Spartan Trifecta World Championships in Greece earlier this month. 

Eckel was invited to try out for the Department of Defense’s National Endurance Team which is a hand-selected team of the best 70 men and women chosen to represent the United States at high-level competitive events across the globe. Each state had an opportunity to send three people to represent it and compete against each other for a chance to represent the nation during the 2022-2023 season. 

“The event that was set up to determine which individuals would make the team was hosted by Spartan Race in the form of a DekaFit arena event in Austin, Texas,” said Eckel. “It was a fierce and rigorous 5k race with 10 intense functional fitness stations every 500 meters to find who the fittest individuals were to make up the national team. I was humbled & blessed to be selected as one of the men to make the team which has resulted in me traveling the globe competing for the national team this year.”

During the season, Eckel finished high enough  to earn the opportunity to compete and represent the country in the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in Sparta, Greece. This world championship brought together 2,000 athletes from 78 different nations to compete in head-to-head battles spanning three intense days. 

“There were 90-plus mind, body and soul-crippling obstacles to test one’s strength, climbing ability, skill, grip, endurance, determination, balance, sheer will and memory,” said Eckel. “These overwhelmingly difficult tests were spread out over 30plus miles of brutal mountainous terrain. The event had athletes racing up sides of cliffs, down through valleys and swimming through crippling cold rivers while weaving through olive groves carrying boulders, logs, columns of marble, various battleship anchor chains, sandbags and five gallon buckets of rocks for miles through the countryside and city streets of Ancient Greece.”

Eckel’s first day did not start off as planned.

“Early into day one of the event I arrived at a European obstacle I’d never seen before and upon dismounting the obstacle, I ripped the palms of both of my hands open which created an ongoing problem for the remainder of day-one competition,” he said. “Due to the massive amount of grip-related and overhead hanging focus of most of the obstacles, I had a few tests that I failed. These failed tests resulted in a five minute penalty of various degrees of grueling exercises before I could continue the race.”

Eckel was able to tend to his wounded hands and came back stronger on the remaining competition days. He was able to make up for the progress he lost on day one. 

“I honestly have to thank God for blessing my older body with the ability to perform at a high level of output while being injured for long durations of time. With lots of prayer during the event, I was able to block out the pain and not only survive this event but thrive during it. I’ll come back more prepared now knowing what to expect and I'll be stronger at the things I performed poorly at,” said Eckel. 

On the day-one five-plus mile event featuring over 25 obstacles, his total time was 56 minutes, placing him fifth in the U.S. and 52nd overall. He completed the day-two eight-plus mile event with over 35 obstacles in one hour 35 minutes placing him fourth in the U.S. and 46th overall. He completed the day-three 16-plus mile event with over 40 obstacles in three hours and 29 minutes placing him in third in the U.S. and 36th overall. 

His final results for the World Championship event were fourth in the U.S. and 37th overall. Eckel represented the country well, and left Greece with lessons learned and a few new medals.