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Rambler 120 race returns with new division for individuals

By Robert Goetz | Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | July 22, 2014


After a one-year hiatus, Joint Base San Antonio's adventure race, the Rambler 120 Team Challenge, will return Sept. 20 to the JBSA Recreation Park at Canyon Lake.


The Rambler 120, which is hosted by the 502nd Force Support Squadron, features four- and eight-person teams that engage in a friendly, but hard-fought, competition that challenges participants with a 22-mile bike race, 6-mile run, 2-mile raft race and a mystery event.


The competition, now in its eighth year, was canceled last year because of Department of Defense budget issues and furloughs, but project officer Steve Knechtel, 502nd FSS community programs manager, said organizers have made a few changes to "reinvigorate" the event, which has averaged nearly 300 participants in recent years.


"Every year we try to tweak it and improve it," he said. "We've made three major improvements this year."


One of the improvements was adding a division for recreational racers, Knechtel said. The "Just4Fun" division joins the four-person Xtreme and eight-person relay team divisions that have served as the backbone of the event. Xtreme and relay teams compete in three categories: all-male, all-female and coed.


The Rambler 120 also includes a youth biathlon, the "Iron Kid," for family members 5 to 12 years old.


Other changes to the event are the employment of a race management company, Athlete Guild, to handle registration and official timing, and the posting of links on the 502nd FSS website, http://www.randolphfss.com, to  direct prospective participants to information such as registration, previous winning times, a fact sheet and rules, race routes and directions to the recreation park. The links are accessible through a Rambler 120 advertisement on the website's main page.


The event staff is seeking volunteers from all JBSA locations as well as participants, Knechtel said. The event is restricted to active-duty and retired military members and their families, government civilians and contractors 18 years of age and older.


Knechtel said the event often has repeat participants.


Maj. Peter Springirth, 433rd Logistics Readiness Squadron director of operations, said he is competing again this year - and actively recruiting team members - after participating in the Rambler 120 in 2010 and 2012.


The 433rd LRS coed relay team he belonged to placed first in the 2012 event.


"I love the idea of triathlons, but can't swim long distances without drowning, so this event is absolutely perfect," he said. "It's in a picturesque location, with a great barbecue lunch as well, so we love competing."


Staff Sgt. Flavio Marroquin, 690th Cyberspace Operations Group Maintenance Operation Center operations controller, said he and his team,


"The Poindexters," were ready to go last year until the competition was canceled, and they're poised again for this year's Rambler 120.


"Our team will be participating in the Xtreme challenge and we plan on having a top finish," he said. "The biggest challenge will be the raft. Most of us have never done anything like it, and there is no practical or frequent way for us to practice it."


Deadline to register for the Rambler 120 is Sept. 6. Entry fees are $150 for relay teams and $100 for Xtreme teams if they sign up before Aug. 2; after Aug. 2, fees are $180 for relay teams and $120 for Xtreme teams. Other fees are $25 for individuals and $10 for children. Entry fees entitle participants to a commemorative T-shirt, a barbecue lunch and refreshments.


Military teams and individuals may also qualify to have their registration fee paid through the Air Force RecOn program, but limited funds are available, Knechtel said.


Awards will be presented to the top three teams in each division and category.


For more information, contact Steve Knechtel at 652-3125, 267-7358.