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Battlefrog: Firefighters face Navy SEAL-designed obstacle race

Two Social Circle firefighters are gearing up for a muddy challenge that will test their physical and mental strength at the end of the month in Conyers.

Brett Barfield and Troy Mason are signed up to compete in the Metro Atlanta BattleFrog Obstacle Course Race series May 31 at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, a new event designed by active, reserve and retired U.S. Navy SEALS to mirror real-life challenges they face in the field.

Barfield has been in the fire service for nine years, moving to the Social Circle Fire Department from South Georgia in the fall of 2012. He said he ran his first obstacle race in March.

“That boosted me into wanting to do it more,” Barfield said. “I’ve always done local 5K- and 10K-type races, but I was looking for more of a challenge than just a straight run.”

He has been racing for the past three years, but he said he likes obstacle races because it both helps to keep him physically fit and builds team bonding and character. Barfield and Mason are running “BattleFrog” with a team of about 10 to 15 firefighters from around the area.

“Being in the fire service, and it being put on by Navy SEALS, I couldn’t think of a better way not only to support the guys who serve our country, but to do something that they go through on a day-to-day basis,” Barfield said.

The event offers a 15K course with more than 25 obstacles, including crawling through mud, running, climbing, swinging, jumping and swimming. There will also be a 5K with more than 15 obstacles and a 1K or 200m dash for younger participants and families.

However, some obstacles will only be unveiled the day of the event. According to the event website, the element of surprise means training must be versatile to prepare for the unexpected, just as Navy SEALS do in their course of action. The “BattleFrog” is the unofficial mascot of the Navy SEALS, representing the “adaptable, resilient nature required to thrive in this fierce environment.”

The race will be opened with a U.S. Navy helicopter flyover, followed by the sounds of a cannon before actual Navy SEALS lead the first heat.

Proceeds from the event will help the Navy SEAL Foundation, Trident House and Navy SEAL Museum.