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Will County Man Plans to Tackle 'Death Race'

Tim White of Romeoville has tackled other obstacle course races in the past; this June, he'll head to the Death Race in Vermont. Credit: Submitted photo
Tim White of Romeoville has tackled other obstacle course races in the past; this June, he'll head to the Death Race in Vermont. Credit: Submitted photo
Who in his right mind would want to do something called a "Death Race"?

Tim White, for one.

The Romeoville resident — who declined to give his exact age, joking that he's "too old" and simply saying he's in his late 40s — is slated to tackle the Death Race in Vermont this June.

Designed to be mentally and physically taxing, the race takes participants over the rough terrain of the appropriately named Mount Killington in Vermont, where they'll encounter daunting obstacles as they fight to become one of the few to finish.

The event website — itself a bit daunting with its "youmaydie.com" URL — doesn't say how long the race takes, but in the past, it's lasted more than 70 hours. Most of the athletes who take on the Death Race don't even finish.

"We provide no support. We don’t tell you when it starts. We don’t tell you when it ends. We don’t tell you what it will entail. We want you to fail and encourage you to quit at any time," the site says.

So what's the appeal?

"It's just another challenge," said White, who began taking on obstacle course races several years ago. "I'm never going to be a runner," but the races are a way to challenge himself mentally and physically, he said.

To help promote the race, participants must also take on a media challenge, White said. For those who are unable to get a media outlet to publish a story on the Death Race, there's a punishment.

"If you don't, you have to do 2,500 burpees wearing a weight vest," White said. He estimates it would take about six hours do to that many.

White said his first event was the Warrior Dash three years ago. Since then, he's gone on to do "The Ultimate Suck," a nearly 40-hour event that combines farm-style chores with military boot camp exercises.

He's also tackled the S.E.R.E. (Strength. Endurance. Reliance. Evolve) Urban Traverse Challenge in Chicago, along with the GORUCK Challenge, which is modeled after Special Operations training.

White hopes those events, along with training on his own, will help prep him for the Death Race.

He said he regularly heads out to Swallow Cliff with a heavy backpack to train, and spends time training with a large tire at home.

"I have a tire in my backyard that's taller than me — it's about 650 pounds," White said.

As far as the Death Race goes, "It's got about a 90 to 95 percent dropout rate," White said, "and hardly anyone makes it on their first time."

White hopes to beat those odds. 

In addition to physical obstacles, the Death Race will have mental challenges. White said he's heading to Vermont with a friend who has also signed up for the race, but he doesn't hold out much hope that they'll be able to remain a team during the event.

"We're supposed to be allowed to keep our partners — we think it's just a mind game," he said. 

The race starts June 27. Click here to learn more about the Death Race.


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