JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
As the annual Rambler 120 Team Challenge approaches its eighth year of putting participants through their paces in a 22-mile bike ride, 6-mile run, 2-mile rafting trip and a mystery event Oct. 5 at Joint Base San Antonio Recreation Park at Canyon Lake, teams are encouraged to register for the competition early and start practicing.
"Cost increases have forced us to raise the registration fees," Steve Knechtel, JBSA-Randolph community programs manager, said. "However, this doesn't take effect until Aug. 24. Signing up before that date locks in last year's lower fees."
Early bird fees are $100 for four-person "Xtreme" teams and $150 for five- to eight-person relay teams. After Aug. 24, Xtreme teams must pay $120 and relay teams $180. The last day to sign up is Sept. 20.
Teams, which are all-male, all-female or coed, can earn first-, second- or third-place awards based on their category and type.
In 2012, 35 teams contended in the Rambler 120; this year, Knechtel said his goal is to have 50 teams.
"During the first six years, eligibility was limited to Department of Defense ID cardholders such as active duty, family members, retirees and DoD civilians," Knechtel said. "For the second year in a row, we're expanding eligibility to include any federal government agencies.
"Last year we had teams from Homeland Security, the Navy and ROTC."
Also for the second year, children ages 5-12 can register for the Iron Kid, a youth biathlon event happening on the same morning of the Rambler 120. The fee is $8 and registration includes a commemorative T-shirt, barbecue lunch and awards.
The advantage of assembling a team early is getting a head start with practice, which means "if you can handle 100-degree weather in July and August, your team should be confident to compete in October."
Practicing early is also a chance for teams to get everyone on the same pace, especially when biking and rafting, Maj. Peter Springirth, 433rd Logistics Readiness Squadron operations officer, who's competed in the Rambler 120 twice, said.
His team came in first place in the coed relay division in 2012.
"Some teams are really competitive while others are not," he said. "But the Rambler experience is however hard you want it to be; if you find people with similar skill levels, it makes competing more enjoyable (since teams must cross the finish line together)."
Eighty to 100 helpers across JBSA are needed to support the community event, "so if you don't compete but want to be part of it, you can select a specific activity or task as a volunteer and work various two- to four-hour shifts," Knechtel said.
Volunteers receive a free lunch and a T-shirt.
Minors ages 16 and 17 can join a team with a parent or guardian. One non-federal employee is permitted per team.
To download entry forms, visit www.randolphfss.com or pick them up at the JBSA-Randolph Community Services Mall, building 895, or at the Rambler Fitness Center, building 999.
For more information, call Steve Knechtel at 267-7358.